I’ve worked in broadcasting and media for most of my adult life. I count myself lucky that, for the most part, I’ve been allowed to follow my curiosity around and get paid for it. Yet, it’s hard for me to escape the impression the profession is in a profound period of upheaval. Newspapers are in free-fall as subscribers decline in number and advertisers find cheaper ways to reach potential clients. Network corporate owners constantly seek ways to trim the costliest item on their spreadsheet, the newsroom. And the public today can choose any number of ways to receive news: social media, web outlets, or, yes, podcasts.
All of this came to the fore when journalist and university professor Lynne Snifka announced on Facebook she was departing Fairbanks. I’ve known Lynne for 20 years. I met her when she took her first job in Alaska as a television director and producer at KUAC. Smart, funny and creative, she was a wonderful colleague to work with when radio and television combined forces for election coverage. She also produced engaging documentaries on topical issues and personalities around the state. Later, she when turned to print as a writer and editor, her pieces exhibited her characteristically sharp-eyed and smartly-written observations about the world around her.
Ten years ago, she accepted a post as a journalism professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, training a new generation of journalists. Even so, she found time to work as a freelance writer for magazines.
Lynne’s announcement she was leaving Alaska coincides with a fiscal quagmire the University is struggling to extract itself from. Many professors and researchers I know see their departments shrinking, merging or threatened with extinction.
All of which led me to invited Lynne on Northern Soundings.