Lori Townsend, Alaska Public Media

Lori Townsend is the news director and senior host for Alaska Public Media. You can send her program ideas for Talk of Alaska and Alaska Insight at ltownsend@alaskapublic.org or call 907-350-2058.
Protestors hold signs at a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Anchorage. Photo by Mayowa Aina.

Celebrating Black History Month by honoring Alaskan trailblazers and the work still to come | Alaska Insight

After an intense year of political, social and racial unrest across the country, what does February mean for Black Alaskans this year and what do they hope to see for change in the future?

LISTEN: After a tumultuous 2020, what priorities do Black Alaskans have looking ahead?

How do Black Alaskans see the current issues facing our society and what do they want in policy and social change for greater equity in the future?
Lori Townsend talks to disability advocates during Alaska Insight on Feb. 5, 2021.

How Alaskans with disabilities are dealing with pandemic challenges | Alaska Insight

loneliness, how have people who require daily, in-home assistance balanced the need for care with the risk of catching the virus?
wheelchair ramp

LISTEN: Addressing pandemic impacts for Alaskans with disabilities

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unique challenges for everyone, but many people with physical, developmental and cognitive challenges have had to adapt to even more uncertainty and frustration.
Lori Townsend talks with political reporters during Alaska Insight on Jan. 29, 2021.

Legislative priorities amid a pandemic and disorganization in the Alaska House | Alaska Insight

Alaska lawmakers are in session in the capitol city. A lot of careful planning and work has gone into keeping lawmakers and Juneau residents safe from COVID-19, but uncertainty looms about the state budget and pandemic relief.
A river and mountains.

LISTEN: The first-ever lease sale was held in the Arctic refuge this month. What does it mean for oil development in Alaska?

Repeated attempts by Alaska’s congressional delegation to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to development finally prevailed with a lease sale held in early January. What does the lack of industry interest mean for the future of oil in Alaska?
A nurse fills a needle with the COVID-19 Vaccine in Anchorage, AK on Jan. 7, 2021.

Vaccine rollout continues in Alaska with coordination between state and tribes | Alaska Insight

As more Alaskans get vaccinated against COVID-19, health care officials are working hard to make the process easy, accessible and trustworthy.

Preventing Youth Suicide in Alaska: There’s Hope, There’s Help | Alaska Insight Special

Alaska Public Media and Well Beings team up for a community conversation about preventing youth suicide in a state with one of the highest per-capita rates in the nation. Healing from the contributing factors facing young Alaskans is strengthened by attention.
a person receives a vaccination

LISTEN: Who’s next for COVID-19 vaccination in Alaska?

As more vaccines arrive, how will you know when you can get one? There’s been a lot of confusion as the state works to ensure Alaskans get the shot. Once you are vaccinated, when are you actually protected from the virus? We’re seeking clarity on the COVID-19 vaccine process and timeline.

LISTEN: How is the pandemic changing what, how, and where Alaskans eat?

More people are cooking at home, restaurants have closed, and there have been shortages of everything from yeast to canning jars. Alaskans have had a unique and self-reliant food culture for generations. We’ll discuss how the coronavirus is affecting it

LISTEN: Ideas for nonpartisan political cooperation

At a time when political divisions are intensifying, we'll discuss strategies for finding compromise with former Alaska Governor Bill Walker.

LISTEN: The social safety net in the Covid economy

As winter deepens and the economy continues to be hampered by COVID-19 restrictions, how much additional pressure is there on the state's social service programs for vulnerable Alaskans?
The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation's hospital in Bethel.

LISTEN: Alaska’s health care system struggles with capacity amid COVID-19 surge

Hospital officials, doctors and other medical support staff are raising the alarm over high coronavirus case counts in Alaska, illness among their own ranks, and the diminishing number of available beds for critical care.
A manila "vote here" sign hangs in a white room with an election worker in blue sitting at the table.

LISTEN: Two weeks later, how did Alaskans vote this election?

As state election officials continue tallying ballots, major questions remain about the results, even after most races have been called.

Alaska’s election results and what they may mean for the state’s future | Alaska Insight

More than 150,000 Alaskans voted by absentee and mail. As those counts are tallied, some races have flipped, some are still too close to call, and the vote counts for the two ballot initiatives are heading in opposite directions.

LISTEN: How are educators weighing school reopening amid Covid?

Educators explain how they are assessing the risks of viral transmission against the toll taken on keeping kids out of the classroom.
Lori Townsend talks with faith leaders on Alaska Insight. Nov. 6, 2020.

Faith Leaders in Anchorage aim for unity and peace through new initiative | Alaska Insight

Religious leaders in Anchorage are responding to deep divisions over racial equity, social justice, and economic inequality with a new initiative called "Reconciliation: Race, Justice, and the Gospel," that promotes reconciliation and healing between people of different ethnic backgrounds and beliefs.
Lori Townsend talks with experts on the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women in Alaska.

Addressing the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women in Alaska | Alaska Insight

Alaska has some of the highest rates in the country of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. After years of organizing around the issue, advocates are seeing more attention and resources brought to bear.

LISTEN: How worried should Alaskans be about the future of food security?

Food security is on the minds of Alaskans because of supply line disruptions brought on by the pandemic. How do those concerns differ across the state, and especially for indigenous people in rural communities who depend heavily on subsistence?

LISTEN: COVID-19 cases are surging in Alaska. What’s the outlook for winter?

Alaska's Covid case numbers are accelerating at an alarming rate. Daily counts have been in the triple digits for weeks. Why are cases increasing so quickly now and what might it mean for winter transmission rates as Alaskans spend time indoors and distancing becomes more difficult?