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Professor hopes open mic will counter 'caricature of Alaska' on reality TV

  • Author: Mike Dunham
  • Updated: May 31, 2016
  • Published February 23, 2016

University of Alaska Fairbanks journalism professor Robert Prince says he's frustrated by Alaska "reality" shows and is looking for real Alaskans with real Alaska stories to help set the record straight.

Prince has created "Dark Winter Nights: True Stories from Alaska," a documentary radio program/podcast that features Alaska storytellers recounting real-life experiences in the 49th state. On Thursday he'll reach out statewide with the program's first open-mic event in six communities via the Internet using the Online With Libraries video conferencing network.

The event will take place 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25. The show will be coordinated from the Noel Wien Library in Fairbanks and other storyteller locations will be set up in the Kodiak Public Library, Valdez Consortium Library, Unalaska Public Library, Kenai Community Library and Juneau Public Library.

In the press release announcing the open mic, Prince said, "Many reality TV programs have created a caricature of Alaska. I figured if people wanted to know what life in Alaska is really like, it should be Alaskans bringing them those true stories."

The event has no preselected storytellers. Speakers are selected on the spot from audience members in all locations. Stories must be actual events that happened to the storytellers in Alaska and go no longer than 10 minutes.

Prince hopes that by going statewide he'll attract more storytellers for the program, which airs at 7 p.m. on the third Saturday of each month on KUAC-FM in Fairbanks. It can also be heard on iTunes and the "Dark Winter Nights" website.

For information on how to participate in the show, go to

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