Letter From The Editor

Letter From The Editor

Words by Taylor Heckart

Dear Readers, 

It’s no secret that living in Alaska can be a challenge. If you’re reading this, chances are you live here too, so probably I don’t have to tell you that. More than half of the year it’s cold, dark, and often isolating. Everything comes up here by plane or barge, and shipping ranges from frustrating to impossible. And that’s just the superficial stuff. The state seems to be in a constant conflict between resource development and resource preservation. We also have the highest rates of sexual assault nationwide and some of the highest rates of homicide. The list goes on. 

And yet, when we talk about Alaska, time and time again the story isn’t just about the challenges of living here, but rather the resilience of the people who live here. Because, despite it all, we choose to make this state home, with all of its complexities, and make it a beautiful place to live. This is not a magazine lamenting the challenges of living here, but rather one about overcoming hurdles, and the stories of people who choose to make this place a welcoming community for themselves and others

In this issue, follow one former student’s journey through homelessness while pursuing her degree, and her path to becoming an adviser at UAA. Learn about the push to make salmon an endangered species, and about the Alaskans who are pushing back. Follow one athlete as she goes through two devastating injuries, and the long road to recovery required to pursue her dreams. Join Alyeska’s avalanche dogs as they train day in and day out to protect skiers and snowboarders on the slopes. The list of these amazing stories goes on, each researched and reported by UAA’s own journalism and public communications students. 

True North is a magazine put together entirely by the UAA Department of Journalism and Public Communications and UAA students, and wouldn’t be possible without the commitment and dedication shown by our tiny team. It’s no small feat to make a magazine in a semester, and I couldn’t be prouder of the product we’ve created. This also wouldn’t be possible without our professor Paola Banchero, whose feedback and guidance was critical to the success of this issue. 

Thank you so much for supporting local storytelling and student journalism. On behalf of myself and the team of True North, I sincerely hope that you enjoy this issue.

Taylor Heckart


True North Magazine

True North is a publication of the University of Alaska Anchorage Department of Journalism and Public Communications. It has been published since 1995.