Alaska magazine joins public TV production

Posted: Thursday, June 08, 2000

Alaska magazine and Alaska One, the Alaska public television network, will co-produce a 52-program television series about life on the Last Frontier for national distribution as well as 100 percent coverage in Alaska. Currently in pre-production, this unusual public-private media partnership will showcase Alaska on public television stations beginning in January 2001.

Subject matter for the half-hour shows will be taped entirely in Alaska to help educate Lower 48 viewers about Alaska by exploring uniquely Alaskan issues from an Alaska point of view.

"This is cutting edge television about Alaska," said Fairbanks-based Executive Producer C. Vincent Shortt. "Most television programs about Alaska are made by people from outside the state; this program is Alaskan from concept to tape and our intimate view of our own state will certainly add compelling and highly educational elements to the program.

"By using a very carefully selected group of Alaskans as segment experts and hosts, we will treat the rest of the nation to the true sights, tastes, history, thrills, beauty and sensibilities of this place as only people who call it home can."

The show, which is titled "Alaska Magazine, Exploring Life on the Last Frontier," will draw heavily from the journalistic experience of Anchorage-based Alaska magazine, which celebrates its 65th year of publication in 2000.

"We have more than 30 contributors statewide and a rich history of solid Alaska journalism to draw from," said Editor Bruce Woods. "Alaska One has a rich heritage of high-quality Alaska television as well as resources statewide that would be difficult for any Outside producer to match.

"Between these two organizations, the national message we send to millions of viewers nationwide about our state should be not only compelling, but highly educational, while at the same time helping those viewers understand our issues from our point of view. No other national television program offers that kind of service to the people of Alaska and people interested in Alaska regardless of where they live."

Jerry Brigham, president of Alaska One and general manager of public television station KUAC in Fairbanks, said Alaska magazine was a natural partner for this endeavor.

"They have a tremendous readership nationwide and are, in fact, one of the best known Alaska icons worldwide, not just nationwide. The magazine's journalistic resources, its intimate knowledge about Alaska's wonders and issues, as well as its tremendous name recognition will help make this television show one of the mainstay's of national public television."

Shortt said the programs also will be a primary part of the Alaska One schedule, guaranteeing 100 percent coverage in Alaska. He said the programs will be distributed nationwide by the National Educational Telecommunications Association, which distributes programs to public television stations throughout the country.

"We are delighted to be a part of this highly beneficial public-private initiative," said William S. Morris III, publisher of Alaska magazine and CEO of Morris Communications Corp. "Alaska is the Great Land and this gives us a grand opportunity to share our land with many millions of people.

"These programs will not only be good for our tourism trade, but they will also help people across the nation better understand this great state and the unique issues and challenges we face. This is a very exciting project, bold in its concept, and I think it will be exceptional in its execution."

Alaska magazine is part of the Morris Communications media family in Alaska, which includes The Milepost, Alaska Journal of Commerce, the Peninsula Clarion, the Homer News and the Juneau Empire, as well as other publications and broadcast media holdings in Anchorage.

Morris Communications is an international diversified media company with holdings in daily newspapers, outdoor advertising, travel guides, radio and television stations, magazines and specialty books with operations in the United States and Europe.

Its corporate offices are located in Augusta, Ga.

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