JPC Alumni Award

Meet the 2024 Recipient of the JPC Alumni Award: Rosey Robards

 Rosey photo

The Department of Journalism and Public Communications honored Rosey Robards with the JPC Alumni Award at its graduation celebration earlier this month. 

Rosey Robards is the director of Alaska Teen Media Institute and executive director of the Alaska Press Club, a nonprofit organization that offers professional development opportunities and advocates for the industry. Under Robards’ leadership, the Alaska Press Club has grown from a small body to a thriving organization that brings national newsroom figures to Anchorage for its annual conference as well as providing other programming. Last month, the Press Club conference welcomed Judy Woodruff of PBS and other industry innovators. The Press Club has more than 175 members statewide.

Robards was the editor at The Northern Light, but she began her journalism career at Dimond High School’s Igaramkin student newspaper. Since graduating from UAA as a University Honors Program Scholar with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Public Communications in 2005, Robards has been a leader in journalism education for both teens and professionals.

“One of the first things you learn when you work with Rosey is she doesn’t do things halfway,” said Lori Townsend, news director and senior host at Alaska Public Media. “She is incredibly organized and thorough. Within a few years of getting involved with the Press Club, she and Julia O'Malley and a few other working journalists had taken charge of the organization and molded it as fast as they could into an organization that could help encourage young journalists, provide valuable training for those already in journalism as a career, and bring inspiring national editors and journalists here to Alaska to share their knowledge.”

“It’s fitting for the UAA journalism program to honor Rosey because she has been directly or indirectly responsible for many of the program’s students over the years,” said Tom Hewitt, opinion editor at the Anchorage Daily News. “When I first met her I was a second-year journalism student at UAF myself, making the trip down to the annual Press Club conference in Anchorage.” He explained that Rosey’s leadership helped make it clear Hewitt had a future in local journalism. 

For example through a collaboration with Alaska Teen Media Institute, JPC hosted a youth media camp on campus last summer. With support from JPC, Alaska Teen Media Institute has successfully created news literacy opportunities for Alaska K-12 students and teachers. JPC students also helped Alaska Teen Media Institute document the 2024 Alaska Forum on the Environment. 

Robards is one of the point people responsible for Press Forward Alaska, which is part of the national initiative to bolster local news. The Press Forward Initiative is an opportunity for us to come together to work on making our local news ecosystem more sustainable. 

“Our local reporters have been working tirelessly to keep us informed and help us understand complex issues,” Robards said. “As a community, it’s time for us to ask ourselves what we can do for them.” 

The UAA Department of Journalism and Public Communications has honored a distinguished alumnus or alumna since 2011. The award is given to alumni who have demonstrated excellence in their career paths and have given back to their communities. Past honorees include Natalie Lowman, former communications director of ConocoPhillips Alaska, and Leah Boltz, a principal at Bettisworth North.