Critical readers, they are the ones who log on under aliases like “Ted_the_Bear” or “AK49_runner” in the comments section of an online article and shred it to pieces. But they are the vital. They are the ones who care and who are paying attention.
The UAA Department of Journalism and Public Communications will hold a community conversation about “Truth and Trust: Alaska’s News Media in the 21st Century” at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 7 in the Snow Goose restaurant.
The Mike Doogan, 2013 Atwood Chair of Journalism, will lead a round table discussion with fellow Alaska journalists. The panel will include Steve MacDonald, KTUU special projects manager, and Kyle Hopkins, Anchorage Daily News reporter, among others.
“A lot of times the public at large doesn’t have a good understanding of the process of journalism,” Dave Worrell, JPC Community Advisory Board member, said. “We hope to really give people an understanding of how the press works in Alaska and particularly how the press is changing in Alaska and globally.”
Worrell, a UAA alumnus, was part of the planning process. He feels the event will be a great time for the public to meet Doogan and learn about the importance of his role as the Atwood Chair of Journalism.
The Atwood Chair of Journalism was established at UAA in 1979 by Anchorage Times publisher Robert B. Atwood and his wife, Evangeline Atwood, to help advance the quality of journalism in Alaska.
Funds are used to bring nationally recognized journalists and educators to the JPC department as visiting professors who teach courses and hold seminars for future journalists.
Doogan said he hopes to see a good mix of the general public and JPC students at the event.
“The students who are going to show up and listen are really the people who decide what happens to information here,” Doogan said. “If they are interested in accuracy and a breadth of information, they will be the ones who provide it, old fogies like me will not be dictating what information will be put out and how accurate it is.”
Pearl-Grace Rasmussen, UAA student journalist at KRUA-FM, will be a part of the panel. She plans to share her experiences as the host of her own radio show, “Teamwork to Make the Dream Work” and as the co-host for the “Coach Shyiak Show,” which airs weekly on GCI channel 1. Rasmussen said she would urge fellow journalists to learn different ways to deliver news.
“With the world right now, you need to be versatile,” Rasmussen said.
Tony Hopfinger, executive editor of the Alaska Dispatch, said he hopes “journalists can turn the light on themselves and ask how can they can do a better job of letting the public know how they come about doing their jobs.”
Hopfinger is also a member of the JPC Advisory Board and was part of the planning process.
After remarks from the panel, the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions or voice concerns.
“I want members of community to walk away feeling like there is hope for journalism, that journalism is in many ways vibrant and rich and still covering important issues in the state,” Paola Banchero, journalism and public communications department chair, said. “It’s not to say it couldn’t be strengthened, it always could be.” Banchero said. “There are really good journalists out there covering important topics all the time. You just have to be a more savvy consumer about news.”
This event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the JPC homepage at: http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/journalismandpubliccommunications/index.cfm.