Lori Townsend, Alaska Public Media

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Lori Townsend is the News Director for the Alaska Public Radio Network. She got her start in broadcasting at the age of 11 as the park announcer of the fast pitch baseball games in Deer Park, Wisconsin. She has worked in print and broadcast journalism for more than 24 years. She was the co-founder and former Editor of Northern Aspects, a magazine featuring northern Wisconsin writers and artists. She worked for 7 years at tribal station WOJB on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibway Reservation in Wisconsin, first as an on-air programmer and special projects producer and eventually News Director. In 1997 she co-hosted a continuing Saturday afternoon public affairs talk program on station KSTP in St. Paul, Minnesota. Radio brought her to Alaska where she worked as a broadcast trainer for Native fellowship students at Koahnic Broadcasting. Following her work there, she helped co-found the non-profit broadcast company Native Voice Communications. NVC created the award-winning Independent Native News as well as producing many other documentaries and productions. Townsend was NVC’s technical trainer and assistant producer of INN. Through her freelance work, she has produced news and feature stories nationally and internationally for Independent Native News, National Native News, NPR , Pacifica, Monitor Radio, Radio Netherlands and AIROS. Her print work and interviews have been published in News from Indian Country, Yakama Nation Review and other publications. Ms. Townsend has also worked as a broadcast trainer for the Native American Journalist’s Association and with NPR’s Doug Mitchell and as a freelance editor. Townsend is the recipient of numerous awards for her work from the Alaska Press Club, the Native American Journalists Association and a gold and a silver reel award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Townsend was the recipient of a Fellowship at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting in Rhode Island as well as a fellowship at the Knight Digital Media Center in Berkeley. She is an avid reader, a rabid gardener and counts water skiing, training horses, diving and a welding certification among her past and current interests. ltownsend (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8452 | About Lori

Spanish flu devastated rural Alaska in 1918. Are we better prepared for a pandemic 100 years later?

The 1918 viral pandemic known as the Spanish flu, killed millions worldwide and devastated rural communities in Alaska. 100 years later, what did pathologists learn from that outbreak and how prepared are we to handle a fast moving infectious disease today?

LISTEN: Eagle River author Marc Cameron returns with new Tom Clancy novel

Eagle River resident and prolific thriller author Marc Cameron juggles three distinct fiction series--his longtime special ops character Jericho Quinn, his new Alaska based series with federal Marshall Arliss Cutter and recently, on November 19th, Cameron released his third Tom Clancy novel, Code of Honor.

LISTEN: The Nov. 30 earthquake, one year later: what did we learn?

It's been a year since the largest earthquake to shake Alaska since 1964 hit the Southcentral region. Even with millions of dollars in destruction happening in seconds, no one was killed. Was it building codes, epicenter location or just luck?

LISTEN: What should the future of Alaska’s government look like? AFN has a few ideas.

The Alaska Federation of Natives annual convention theme last month was Good Government-Alaskan Driven. How does AFN leadership see their role in driving political change and how do they work with tribal leaders to accomplish it?

LISTEN: Southeast’s “extreme drought” is over, but there are still concerns about water conservation

Southeast communities are working to adapt to a problem they never imagined-- drought. This week on Talkf of Alaska we discuss community health, water conservation in a rainforest and the climate model forecasts for the future.

LISTEN: As the Arctic climate warms, the growing season lengthens. Will rural Alaska become more agricultural?

As winter approaches, farmers and gardeners make plans for spring crops. Climate change effects on the growing season in Alaska means new opportunities and challenges for the future. Will residents, even in the arctic, be able to grow enough food for their winter use?

LISTEN: 32 rural Alaska communities still lack running water. Infrastructure builders are trying to change that.

For most Americans, in home running water and flushing toilets are considered basic utilities, but across rural Alaska more than 30 villages are still living without piped systems. What are the challenges of providing water infrastructure to these communities?

LISTEN: How lobbyists shape government in Alaska

Lobbyists are often viewed with skepticism. But many who lobby the local, state and federal government are citizens — often volunteers — who seek better healthcare, improved schools or advocate for policies that address local concerns over clean air and water.

LISTEN: After plane goes off the Unalaska runway, passenger describes fatal crash, aftermath

Unalaska resident Patrick Lee was traveling home with his wife, daughter and granddaughter when the flight slid off the runway upon landing.

LISTEN: With the state’s reversal on justice reform, Alaska prisons are filling up. One Republican senator saw it coming

The Alaska Department of Corrections is planning to send hundreds of inmates to prisons outside of Alaska — and North Pole Republican Sen. John Coghill says it will likely cost the state money in the long run.

LISTEN: Alaska’s history of immigration goes farther back than you might think

Immigrants play a large role in expanding the state's cultural identity, economy and community. But the road to citizenship is not easy, and arriving in Alaska is only half the battle.

LISTEN: How restorative justice helps rebuild and repair connections to community

Restorative justice tries to correct behavior by repairing harm, rebuilding relationships, and bringing the offender back into good standing in their community. Does it work to reduce crime and recidivism?
nome catholic church

LISTEN: A reporter charted the harm caused by abusive priests in Alaska, a survivor lived through it

The legacy of sexual abuse perpetrated by Jesuit priests against Alaskans in rural villages has haunted families and communities for decades. An investigative series tracked some of the worst offenders from Alaska to a retirement compound outside of the state.

How Alaskans are working to address and prevent suicide

Affordable energy and access to high-speed broadband is essential for engaging in modern commerce, education, telemedicine and for economic development initiatives. How is the rural energy infrastructure need being addressed?

How does affordable energy and broadband affect community health?

Affordable energy and access to high-speed broadband is essential for engaging in modern commerce, education, telemedicine and for economic development initiatives. How is the rural energy infrastructure need being addressed?
The BP Building in Anchorage.

After 60 years at the forefront of oil in Prudhoe Bay, BP exits Alaska

From the early days of oil exploration and discovery, BP has been a major contributor to the Alaska economy. What does BP's departure from Alaska mean for our economy?

‘In Oceans Deep’ explores the mysteries beneath the waves

Scientist and explorer Bill Streever discusses his new book, a chronicle of some of the world's subsea mysteries.

Many Alaska villages have no local police. How do we keep them safe?

The Anchorage Daily News reports 1 in 3 Alaska villages lacks adequate law enforcement. We'll discuss how to ensure the safety of all Alaskans, both on and off the road system on the next Talk of Alaska.

Arctic dinosaurs and ancient ecosystems

Dr Anthony Fiorillo has spent more than two decades searching remote areas in Alaska for evidence of dinosaurs that once roamed the state. Find out more about his work and what ancient ecosystems can teach us about our future on the next Talk of Alaska.
molly of denali

The work of eradicating stereotypes

All cultures need a correct reflection of who they are in media. There has been progress, such as the new PBS kids program Molly of Denali, but a lot of work remains. We'll discuss the good, the bad and the 'still needs to be changed' on the next Talk of Alaska.