Former KUAC reporter brings DC insight to UAF audience
By Molly Dischner
Sun Star Reporter
Monday night, former KUAC-er Libby Casey talked about her experiences in Washington D.C. as Alaska Public Radio Network’s Washington Correspondent in Schaible Auditorium.
Casey interspersed soundbites from people in the capital city with her own anecdotes about life there. Her talk was presented by Summer Sessions as part of their summer lecture series.
Life in the city, Casey said, was a whirlwind – especially at first. “It sometimes feels like a never ending episode of friends,” she said. The news business was also hectic. Days after Casey arrived in Washington, Ted Stevens was indicted. And when she made her first trip back to Alaska, Sarah Palin was tapped as John McCain’s running mate. (Casey was somewhere over the Midwest when the announcement was made.)
Because she was knowledgeable about Alaskan politics, Casey said she appeared on various TV shows to talk about Stevens, Palin and other Alaskan issues. Her first appearances were learning experiences, she said.
“When I look back at the footage, I look like a deer in headlights.”
Two years later, her opinion is no longer as coveted. “The networks don’t call so much anymore,” she said, adding that sometimes they’ll ask her about Palin family gossip. She usually turns those requests down. “I have nothing of substance to share,” she said.
Casey’s soundbites featured man-on-the-street style interviews as well as questions posed to Alaska’s delegation, other senators, and reporters based in Washington. She used them to articulate “Alaska: The View from Washington” as her lecture was titled.
In one clip, she asked someone what they thought of when she said Alaska. Her interviewee mentioned wildlife. “Do you think of Sarah Palin?” she asked. “No…she’s from there, right?” That clip was met with laughter and applause. Most of the other interviewees had heard of Palin. None knew who Sean Parnell is.
During the question-and-answer period, a UAF researcher asked how the university is perceived in Washington D.C. Casey said that people who were interested in research were aware of the university, but that overall, the arctic isn’t getting as much play in America as it is in other countries.