Alaska Native young men, ages 15-24 have the highest suicide rate of any American demographic nationwide. Native languages are teetering on the brink of extinction. Native students have the highest dropout rate in the country. These statistics about Native American and Alaska Native people are often reported as poverty porn or altogether ignored by news media. For the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) College of Rural and Community Development (CRCD) students, faculty and staff, these one-dimensional narratives and invisibility in news coverage were devastatingly personal.
Many scientists have not shared the study results and/or taken advantage of sacred knowledge and cultural/intellectual property of Native people. That’s why CRCD created a safe space for Alaska Native students by not conducting formal research like focus groups or Internet-based, telephone or mail surveys. The PIO softened the way primary research was conducted by having casual conversations and asking questions.
CRCD’s strategic plan requires a culturally relevant public relations campaign to “clearly articulates the social return on investment and shares the success and accomplishments of our programs and campuses.”
"A top-level effort from conception to completion. The ability to craft an effective media release, target an audience, then be available to effectively facilitate interviews and promotion was impressive. The coverage both locally and nationally shined a positive light on the event, but more importantly on UAF. Impressive also was the variety of media coverage and your ability to collect and catalog the success of your efforts. Efforts like this should serve as a solid blueprint for future efforts."
"Excellent use of limited resources to achieve great media coverage, directly tied to goals/objectives. Very descriptive details and demonstration of strategic thinking. Great job!"
"This was quite an impressive campaign. Everything exceeded all expectations. Job well done."
"This is an outstanding entry. Thank you for providing examples of coverage and for clearly stating objectives and how they were met. This entry shines with its explanation of the audience, purpose and the results of gathering national attention. This work clearly connected with so many key stakeholders for your institution. Indigenous Peoples Day is the kind of activity that shows the reach of a higher education institution, and the releases were a clear part of communicating that piece of the story Great work"
"Evidence of success was impressive, with the national placements and high reach. Even more impressive is the scope and scale of work completed and goals achieved or exceeded, especially given the virtually nonexistent budget. This project proved that simple know-how can yield strongest results."
"From initial press release to post-event wrap up, a top-notch effort. Long does a fine job of providing event details -- which is key -- but excels also in providing some background, some history and then offers the media real people with stories to tell. The quality of her effort shows with the number of clips and amount of coverage. Approaching and receiving a sit-down with a newspaper editorial board is always tricky, and Long is able to do so with this event. The television coverage also stood out, with several lengthy segments. Given the breadth and depth of coverage, it's little surprise that the workshops were well-attended."