Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Community Perspective

FAIRBANKS — Fairbanks Focus: Alaska View is a weekly half-hour news/public affairs program that airs every Sunday morning on KTVF Channel 11 between 6:00-9:00 am. Produced by the Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation (FEDC), the journalism department of the University of Alaska Fairbanks and KTVF Channel 11, it is a program unlike any other in Fairbanks: one of, by and for the Interior. As it opens another season, we invite you to tune in, engage and enjoy.

Much like the Interior’s Issues Council, which was brought together to act as a counterpoint to the Anchorage-based and focused Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER), Fairbanks Focus was initiated to satisfy a need that was, until then, mostly unfilled — a program whose primary interest would be centered on Fairbanks, would speak primarily to things important to the Interior and would share information from and about our community with the rest of the state. And it does: utilizing one-on-one interviews and roundtable discussions, the show engages not only Interior Alaska’s best thinkers, politicians, researchers and community leaders, it draws in statewide policy leaders and newsmakers to speak to our community and its issues in our local context.

Another unique aspect of Fairbanks Focus is that, though it is guided by the seasoned professionals of FEDC and the faculty of the UAF Journalism department, it is journalism students who produce and host the show, operate the cameras and do the technical editing needed to air the show. This is a remarkable learning experience for the students. As UAF journalism professor Rob Prince, who helps oversee the production, is quick to point out, it’s an opportunity most students don’t usually get.

For example, on the commercial and entrepreneurial front, FEDC and students worked to provide a variety of shows which included: an interview with Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins on the progress of the Alaska F-35 campaign; an interview with Russ Talvi, head of the Fairbanks Small Business Development Center, explaining what they do and how they help new and existing businesses; a conversation with Jack Zayon, Business Development Project Manager with FEDC, on Startup Weekend Fairbanks, the three-day business plan competition which helped launch Fairbikes; and a great interview with Troy Locke of Equipment Source Inc., a local company manufacturing equipment for use on the North Slope.

Other guests included: Congressman Don Young speaking on a wide range of national issues of local import; Julie Emslie of FEDC and Cassie Pinkel with Superior Pellet Fuels to discuss the annual Alaska Wood Energy Conference; gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker, to share some of his ideas and thoughts about Alaska; Steve Haagenson of the Interior Gas utility to update the community regarding local infrastructure development; and even Governor Sean Parnell, here to speak to the LNG trucking and natural gas distribution project as a whole.

Variety being the spice of life, episodes (which are archived on the FEDC web site atwww.investfairbanks.com under their own Fairbanks Focus tab) also included a preview of Dark Winter Nights, an Alaskan storytelling event organized by Prof. Prince and an interview with Holly Carroll to hear about the UAF Frame Program, an initiative of the UAF Theater and Film Department to bring together local and national professionals with students so they may gain practical training by shooting actual film productions.

FEDC knows, as all Interior residents do, that the Fairbanks community is dynamic, diverse and in a state of perpetual reinvention and renewal. Through Fairbanks Focus, the great folks at KTVF, UAF, FEDC and the talented students of the journalism department work to ignite the fires of imagination, innovation, intelligence and involvement in our community, region and beyond. So tune in to KTVF Channel 11 on Sunday morning, Oct. 12 — the lights will be on, the action will be local and the camera will be Fairbanks focused.

Jack Zayon works as a project manager for the Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation.