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Elasticity

As Public Affairs Director, my purview is nestled squarely within the news department of KNOM. Likewise, production people focus on, well, production duties, be it music, shows, or producing spots. But every now and then, something comes up that might let you do a little crossover, have one of those “hey you got your production in my news!” moments. Matty Guiffré’s role as morning show host enabled him to put together a very newsie series on kids in our region called “Caught Doing Something Good.” In the winter of 2011, the music director at the time was able to take a trip to Bethel and do some live coverage of the Kuskokwim 300. And now, I find myself dipping my toes into the production side of things, producing some spots that have roots in my news work.

After my Touch Stone earlier this month on diseased seals, I brainstormed with my guests on ways we could keep the momentum and awareness of our show going. After clearing it with my boss, news director Laureli Kinneen, I drafted a PSA encouraging people who have seen any diseased seals to send in reports and photos to a few different agencies. What’s unique about this PSA is the languages I’m producing it in: English, Russian, Yupik, Siberian Yupik, and the King Island (that is to say, local) dialect of Inupiaq. It’s been an interesting experience connecting with bilingual speakers, having them translate the spot into the target language, and then have them come in and record it. It’s also pretty challenging editing audio in another language, because you never know what can and can’t be cut! Because KNOM can reach such a huge range of listeners, and because their first language might not be English, having spots in a variety of languages will help ensure people can understand the message and share their observations and reports with the right people. It’s not quite crowdsourcing, but it’s close.

I’ve also been working on a project with a teacher at Nome-Beltz Junior High, and like my seal project, it’s also becoming a spot series. A group of 8th grade students worked all semester to craft detail-rich stories about significant learning experiences in their lives. What started out as a simple profile on the students turned into a couple of days where they recorded their stories at KNOM. Those stories will become their own spot series in June. It addition to a news story that will launch the spot series, it’s been fun to do a lot of production work on spots that will bring new stories from local youth on to the air.

The point of this blog post is, basically, that while your work at KNOM is pretty clearly delineated into either news or production, there’s some elasticity that is worth taking advantage of. If you get an idea for something good, talk to your supervisor. They’ll most likely let you do it, or work with someone in another department to realize it. Weather its newsies doing production work, or someone in production going off on a village trip to cover a news story, there are a lot of possibilities. It’s really up to you.

Outside of work, breakup is finally here. It’s good to see water again, even if swimming is out of the question. I interviewed a biologist doing an aerial seal survey, and he provided the pics you see in this post. Here’s a few more pics of the seals and the ice. Trust me, this is totally related.

And:

With seal season here, you can get a decent view of seals hanging out on what remains of the sea ice near Cape Nome. Good stuff.