Building Up Supports For Alaska Native And Native American Journalists Today

May 30, 2018

Jaclyn Sallee [left], CEO of the Koahnic Broadcast Corporation after presenting with Antonia Gonzalez [left center], on the 'Young Native Storytellers: Mentoring & Encouraging Youth Reporters. Also pictured Native Public Media's Richard Davis [right center], and presenter Rhonda LeValdo [right] of Haskell Indian Nations University. May 24, 2018.
Credit Courtesy of Native Public Media


Last week’s 2018 Native Broadcast Summit in Phoenix, Arizona had the First Amendment as a theme, along with celebrating the resilience of Native voices throughout the United States - 40 years of tribal radio. But media is changing, and the next 40 years will be different. What's the best course of action for broadcasters to prepare the way for the next generation of Native voices?


One speaker was Jaclyn Sallee, CEO of the Koahnic Broadcast Corporation. She reflected back to when she started in the industries in the 1980s. The fax machine was the hot new technology back then.


“There were no cell phones and no email; we now live in a different time,” Sallee said. “Today we have an overabundance of information, and people are overloaded with options of media.”


In a presentation entitled “Young Native Storytellers: Mentoring and Encouraging Youth Reporters,” Sallee pointed to Koahnic's new launch, called "RIVR." It's an application for mobile devices:


“We’re really proud of the RIVR. We recently completed the development of the RIVR app,” said Sallee.  


RIVR stands for Rising Indigenous Voices Radio. The app features contemporary native music programming and short stories that feature native youth, streaming now.


Sallee said that tribal stations and other Native media outlets need to stand up and be a player for the benefit of Native peoples. She said that to engage youth and develop young talent, the company has teamed with the Alaska Teen Media Institute and the First Alaskans Institute to operate a three day media intensive during the Alaska Federation of Natives Youth and Elders conference.


And Sallee said that Koahnic tries to give youth a voice on its Anchorage radio station, KNBA.


“It’s important to have your stations do what you can to create opportunities for youth. To create short stories or public service announcements on topics that are important to them,” said Sallee.