Results:

According to those surveyed by the McDowell Group, 79 percent of Alaskans say that preserving Alaska Native cultural heritage should be a high or very high priority of the University of Alaska. The negative and stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans in mass communication lowers the self-esteem of young Alaska Natives. 

"This was quite an impressive campaign. Everything exceeded all expectations. Job well done."

Research Finding:

Judges' Comments:

"Communicating UAF’S Commitment to Preserving Alaska Native Cultural Heritage"


Strategies:

Alaska Native young men, ages 15-24 have the highest suicide rate of any demographic in the nation. Native students have the highest dropout rate in the country. It’s the stuff that poverty porn is made of and I knew it wasn’t the entire story.

The inspiration for this campaign came during an interview with the student leader for the Festival. Her remark, “for my culture (and other Alaska Native cultures) to survive, other people must care,” sparked inspiration for a campaign that showcases Alaska’s Indigenous cultures and creates a platform for the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Rural and Community Development (CRCD) faculty, staff and students to share their stories about what mattered most to them—their cultural identity. Rather than speak on their behalf, I arranged media interviews for students to share their own stories in news. 

CRCD needs media coverage to communicate to Alaska Native people and communities how UAF is helping to preserve and honor Alaska’s Indigenous cultural heritage and provide a safe space for others to learn about these cultures. 

Email leonaclong@gmail.com, for more information about this campaign and accompanying portfolio

Method of evaluation: Quality of news stories

  • 2 Associated Press stories including two that ran on the U.S. News & World Report website

  • 9 front-page stories and 3 editorials in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

  • Front-page stories in the Arctic Sounder (weekly newspaper in rural Alaska) and Alaska Post (Interior Alaska Army weekly newspaper)

  •  International stories: Thai News Service, Voice of America’s Learning English, South-South News, Voice of America international radio network.


Highlights:

  • Voice of America Network’s story, “Alaska Native Youth Find Strength, Resilience in Ancient Traditions” was prominently featured on the website home page and the “Editor’s Pick” on April 5

  • After reading a story I placed in the Anchorage Daily News, an executive at a regional Alaska airline offered to provide donations and deeply discounted rates for those traveling (particularly from the rural regions/communities) for the Collaborative hub

  • The mayors of Fairbanks North Star Borough, Fairbanks and North Pole Cities issued a three-mayor proclamation for Festival of Native Arts Day on March 1, 2018


  • Alaska Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Malott wrote a letter for the Festival program

  • ​Byline articles that I wrote about the Rural Student Services potluck featuring stuffed moose heart was published by 5 Montana newspaper. 

“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!”

Multicultural Communication Case Study:

“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.”

Situation Analysis:
Problem Statement:

Leverage media relations for CRCD students, faculty and staff to share why their Indigenous cultures and identity is meaningful to them and all Alaskans as well as share the stories of the impact CRCD makes for Alaska. Other strategies include community relations and events management. I collaborate with influencers in Alaska Native and rural communities by tagging them in Facebook posts. This magnifies the clout and traction of CRCD Facebook posts that include media placements, CRCD and rural campus flyers and announcements. Facebook is the preferred social media network for those I serve. 

This Public Relations Campaign won the 2018 PRSA Alaska Grand Aurora Award,
​as well as First Place in Multicultural Communication, Writing and Media Relations


"Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers." ~ Daniel J. Boorstin