780 AM | 96.1 FM | “Yours for Western Alaska”

Why Online News Matters

Zach and Matt host Sounding Board

We’re continually looking for ways to improve the product that KNOM serves to its rural Alaska community.

Since the return of Matthew Smith to our mission — in the role of News Director this spring — our station has expanded its news coverage by providing stories, in full text and audio, on this website. Here’s Matt, in his own words, on why this is such an important step — and why your support makes all the difference:

Returning to KNOM as News Director was an easy choice. Western Alaska remains the most interesting part of a fascinating state. After time in Anchorage gaining more experience as a reporter and focusing on delivering news both on-air and online, I came back to KNOM determined to continue the high standards of my predecessor Laureli Kinneen, while putting a greater emphasis on sharing our news online.

The contributions that keep KNOM’s news on the air now also go to serving up our news online: HD photos, full articles, and ongoing engagement through knom.org. The stories we produce offer a vital look at local issues for our listeners (and now, our readers) where options are few. Small local newspapers may come out once a week, but KNOM offers daily newscasts full of local and regional stories. From updates on salmon stocks, to development projects, to community concerns like schools and taxes, KNOM news eagerly takes on the calling of our mission to inform our listeners. Even issues that may seem international are very much local; when American oil giant ExxonMobil partners with Russia’s state-owned Rosneft to explore in the Chukchi Sea, it’s a story that is happening in the “marine gardens” that our listeners rely on for so much. It’s happening in our “backyard.”

As Isaac Newton famously wrote, “if I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Everything I do at KNOM is possible because of the work of those who came before me: my old boss Laureli, the leadership of Ric and Lynette Schmidt these many years, and the endless parade of volunteers who keep the gears of KNOM’s newsroom turning every day. Know that our reporting is possible, both online and on-air, thanks to your support.

Photo: in August, Matt (right) and volunteer reporter Zachariah Hughes co-host a call-in show (Sounding Board) on Alaska’s state oil taxes, a key issue in our state’s primary election.