HMA has worked for more than two decades with tribal governments throughout the Southwest in helping them reach their communications goals. It is often very rewarding and meaningful work that we are quite proud of.
NAJA serves and empowers Native journalists through programs and actions designed to enrich journalism and promote Native cultures.
The organization recognizes Native Americans as distinct peoples based on tradition and culture. In this spirit, NAJA educates and unifies its membership through journalism programs that promote diversity and defends challenges to free press, speech and expression. NAJA is committed to increase the representation of Native journalists in mainstream media. NAJA also encourages both mainstream and tribal media to attain the highest standards of professionalism, ethics and responsibility.
So, Mary, time to share!
The Native American Journalists Association’s annual conference begins this week in Tempe after an amazing year of renewing relationships and building support in Arizona for the work of Native Americans pursuing careers in journalism.
Our conference committee – a group of 12 local NAJA members representing the area’s tribal and mainstream media outlets – have organized three days of programs and events that start Thursday and will introduce conferees from all over the country to local media leaders and the area’s diverse cultures.
In the past year, NAJA has found both Arizona’s Native American and journalism communities to be incredibly supportive of our mission of “raising the next generation of storytellers” as we prepared to host our conference at the Mission Palms Hotel in Tempe. Nearly every tribal nation in or near the Phoenix area has stepped forward to either offer us financial support or participate in our three-day event. It has been encouraging to know that NAJA’s work of fostering powerful, accurate storytelling among our youth and within our professional membership is embraced by so many.
Support from the Ak-Chin Indian Community, for example, made it possible for NAJA to offer a week of intensive journalism training to 20 Native American students in the days leading up to our conference. The students arrived yesterday and started their week by touring the state-of-the-art facilities at the Walter Cronkite School for Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU, where they will be developing their storytelling skills through Friday. The students represent some of the best and brightest in Indian Country and the Cronkite School, without hesitation, accepted our request to host them.
Native Public Media, a non-profit based in Flagstaff that represents 53 tribal radio stations, also has joined NAJA in co-hosting the conference in Tempe and developed top-notch workshops for it. The NAJA-NPM partnership is new this year, and makes sense. Like us, much of the work they do focuses on increasing news and information access in Indian Country – whether through new technology, or advocating for free press and stronger freedom of information guidelines in tribal communities.
My hope is our July 18-21 conference marks a launching point – not an ending point – for strengthening NAJA’s role and work in the area of making sure the stories of Native people are not only told by the media, but told accurately and fairly.
I also hope to see the discussions that take place at our conference lead to further mainstream media coverage in the Southwest of some of the most important topics facing our tribal and reservation communities – including changes ahead for the federal Indian Health Services, the way justice is carried out on tribal lands and the challenges faced by tribes situated along the U.S-Mexico border. These are incredibly complex topics but within each of them, journalists will find countless stories of individuals and communities that need to be told.
When workshops, panel discussions and special events begin Thursday, these issues and many others will be highlighted and discussed at length. A full agenda is available here: https://www.naja.com/conference/schedule/.
NAJA is an inclusive organization and everyone is encouraged to attend the full conference. You can also join us Saturday evening for our media awards banquet and silent auction, which celebrates the best in Native journalism and raises money for the NAJA scholarship fund.
Here is a look at several of our panel discussions that will focus on news and news coverage in Indian Country:
Change in Indian Country and the Violence Against Women Act |
Featured Speaker: Deborah Parker, vice chairwoman of the Tulalip Tribe
The reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act signed into law this year promises sweeping changes in the way violent offenders on tribal lands are brought to justice and held accountable for crimes against women. Deborah Parker, vice chairwoman of the Tulalip Tribe in Washington, stepped forward with her personal story amid heightened congressional debate over the act.
At the first plenary session of the 2013 National Native Media Conference, Parker will deliver remarks on her perspective of the legislative process, media coverage of the debate and what lessons she believes Indian Country can take away from the process.
First Nations and FOIA
Instructor: Felicia Fonseca, Associated Press correspondent in Flagstaff, Ariz.
Because of treaties, trust land and tribal sovereignty, Native Americans have a relationship with the federal government unlike that of any other group in this U.S. And that means decisions that impact people and tribes are often made within massive federal agencies. So, what does it take for journalists who serve tribal communities to get federal documents to report important stories? And once you have documents, how do you present their information in your stories? AP Correspondent Felicia Fonseca, who covers Indian Country, will lead a discussion.
Explaining the Affordable Care Act
Session Leader: Mark Trahant, independent journalist and Atwood Chair of Journalism at the University of Alaska Anchorage
The health care system -- including the Indian Health Service -- will begin dramatic changes in the next few weeks because of the federal healthcare overhaul legislation. Mark Trahant will explain what journalists need to know and how to explain the complicated law to readers in an easy-to-understand approach.
The bill signed into law in March 2010 also included the permanent authorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. Indian Country is included throughout the document in other large and small measures.
Tribal Borderlands and Beyond
Border security and immigration are hot topics with lawmakers in Washington and Arizona. But what impact will the outcome of these debates have on people living on tribal lands running along international borders and even far from those borders? Rather than going to the same sources for information, where can a reporter find new sources and how do they navigate the federal system for information? What are some of the best and worst examples of coverage on this issue?
This panel will look at developments to come on this topic for Indian Country and reporters looking to stay ahead of the story. Panelists will include representatives from tribal and federal governments and major news outlets.
Panelists: Dr. Ned Norris, Jr., Chairman of the Tohono O'odham Nation; Rob Reynolds, Los Angeles-based senior correspondent for Al Jazeera; Amber Cargile, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Phoenix; Karla Gomez Escamilla, Univision Arizona news reporter.
Native News and New Media
Panelists: Mark Trahant, Independent journalist; Suzan Harjo, Executive Director at Morning Star Institute; Nicole Adams, Executive Communications Manager at National Indian Child Welfare Association, DeLanna Studi,actor and chair of SAG-AFTRA National American Indians Committee
Native news stories are receiving renewed attention amid social and mobile media developments. Such stories this year have included the mascot controversy, across-the-board government spending cuts and the Idle No More movement, which offered strong lessons for Native communities and the mainstream media alike as it gathered steam online and led to demonstrations throughout North America.
This panel will center on social media's impact and how journalists take note of trends that unfold on social media. The discussion also will look at how new media has been used to cover the biggest news stories this year and often advance a message. Panelists will include news and nonprofit leaders.