Good News and Updates!

The semester is finally drawing to a close, which means I am 2/3 of the way done with grad school!  This final week of classes will either make or break me, as I have a tremendous amount of work to complete before the Summer begins.

However, I have great news!  I recently found out that I am one of eight winners of the UNITY: Journalists of Color / United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS 2011 Global Reporting Fellowship!  Here is some information about this amazing opportunity:

UNITY: Journalists of Color is teaming up with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) to offer unique international reporting opportunities to young journalists from its alliance partners.

The June 8-10 UN High-Level meeting on AIDS will be among the most important to take place in recent years around AIDS issues where world leaders will take stock of global response after 30 years and remember the human toll of the epidemic – the 25 million people who have died of AIDS. The leaders also will renew commitments and agree on innovative strategies to achieve a world free of HIV infections, AIDS-related deaths and stigma of discrimination.

The meeting will feature speeches by global leaders, including the Secretary General, presidents and royalty. There will also be performances by popular musicians.

The gathering presents an excellent opportunity for young journalists interested in honing their skills in international affairs, especially at a time when many news organizations in the United States are reducing international reporting.

UNITY will bring two young journalists from each partner organization to the United Nations from June 6 – 11 to report on the High Level meeting. They will be joined by four young journalists from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe. The journalists will work collaboratively to produce print, online and broadcast reports during the meeting under the guidance of professional journalists from alliance partners and the Inter Press Service, the developing world’s leading provider of information on global issues.

I am so excited to begin this amazing experience and can’t wait to meet the other participants, mentors, and diplomats!

In other news, I am also thrilled to announce that I will be interning at the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network in Winnipeg, Canada this summer!  I was fortunate to receive internship offers at two other U.S. news organizations that were incredibly hard to turn down.  (Seriously though, you have no idea!)  But, I am the “Native Journalist” and aside from choosing the international reporting concentration at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism (which means I am required to intern at a news organization outside of the U.S.), I also feel like this could be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see what life is like for our Indigenous brothers and sisters up north. I am really excited to be working beside seasoned professionals who have dedicated their careers to telling under-reported stories for and about Native people.

Another reason for choosing to spend the summer at APTN in Winnipeg is to begin working on my capstone project.  At CUNY we are required to complete a major print/multi-media/broadcast/etc. project (like a thesis) in our final semester (in addition to the work required for our four classes).  So, to lighten my load and allow for a possible Fall internship (at the anonymous “dream” news organization I turned down), I thought it would be a great idea to start shooting this summer!

The idea for this project came from an interview I conducted with Tonya Gonnella Frichner about her work with the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.  In the interview she mentioned the high number of Aboriginal women and girls who have been murdered and gone missing from all parts of Indian Country.  Specifically, how sex trafficking is hurting the Indigenous community in Canada.

Since this conversation, I have done a great deal of research into this issue and would like to make this my focus of my capstone.  The other day I came across the below video.  I would like to do something in a similar vein.  Check it out.  It’s hard to watch, but it is my hope that creating a piece like this will call attention to this important issue.



Native American Journalists Association thanks conference goers for a successful event

2010 Native American Journalists Association Conference Logo

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA – In an e-mail to it’s members, NAJA says thank you for helping make the 2010 Native Nations Media Conference a success:

We would like to thank all of our members, presenters, mentors, students and everyone else who contributed to our successful 2010 conference. It was great to see new and familiar faces in St. Paul, and we look forward to meeting with you all again next year!

Thank you!

For a list of the winners of this year’s Native American Journalists Association awards, click here.


NABJ Conference on Health Disparities Announced


March 4-6, 2010
Barbara Jordan Conference Center at Kaiser Family Foundation
1330 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 2005
(one block west of Metro Center)

Program Goal:
The goal of this annual conference is to provide print, broadcast and online journalists the tools to effectively report on the impact of health care reform and health policy on underserved communities. Journalists and media professionals will leave with resources to inform and empower readers and viewers to action in their lives.

Sponsored by:
Kaiser Family Foundation
Eli Lilly and Company

For more information, click here.


Anderson Cooper is my hero.

Anderson Cooper

PORT AU PRINCE, HAITI – I’ve taken a break from blogging while I work on my graduate school applications. I am just about done (finally!) and I plan to be back very soon! I wasn’t planning on posting anything until I was ready for my official return, but after seeing the following video I just couldn’t help myself. I love to write and I have missed it over the past couple of months, but the reason I felt so compelled to post a blog was to share this incredible video with you. It is because of journalists like Anderson Cooper that I have chosen to become a journalist. It is because of exceptional stories that need to be shared with the world that I blog. I want to change the world and make a difference in the lives of others. Journalists like Cooper are doing just that. If you’d like a simple reason as to why Anderson Cooper is my hero, please just check out the video below. Sometimes journalists who cover tragedies become numb to violence, suffering, and death and forget that the people they are filming are just that – people – not simply a news story. Anderson Cooper talks about this in his book Dispatches from the Edge : A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival. If you have yet to read his novel, I strongly suggest you do. It changed my life (as trite as that may sound). In the video below Cooper shows that he is not just a journalist, but a person – a person who really cares and wants to make a difference…and is.

Right now the people of Haiti are suffering and I wish there were some profound way that I could help. I’m afraid all I can do (or have been able to come up with) is to donate to various organizations working to directly help the Haitian people. I wish I were as courageous as Anderson Cooper (and had the honor of working for such an incredible news organization such as CNN!) and could be on the frontlines filming what is going on so that people back at home and around the world will be compelled to do something, too…even if it’s to simply donate money to the Red Cross, for example.

Please note that the video below is very disturbing and contains strong violence, but illustrates how badly Haiti needs our support…and that there are some journalists who are not afraid to risk their own lives to help others.

I will be keeping the people of Haiti in my thoughts and prayers. I hope you will do the same.


Stanford University Journalism Conference Announced for March 2010


Journalism and the Politics of Diversity
(via Seeta Peña Gangadharan of Stanford University)

Announcing News and Inclusion:

Journalism and the Politics of Diversity, Thursday, March 4, 2010, featuring scholars from Australia, Finland, Singapore, Canada, The Netherlands, England, and the United States.

Sponsored by Stanford University’s Department of Communication, John S. Knight Fellowships for Professional Journalists, Office of the President, School of Humanities and Sciences, Center for Comparative Studies of Race and Ethnicity; and Erasmus University Rotterdam’s Department of Media and Communication.

The symposium is free and open to the public — but, due to limited space, registration is required.

For details, and to register click here.


NAJA announces 2009 award winners

The Native American Journalists Association announced their 2009 award winners at this years (25th annual) convention which took place in Albuquerque, New Mexico July 30th – August 1st.

And the award goes to…

Associate Awards
1st Place: Jason Stein, Wisconsin State Journal, “Down to a Whisper”
2nd Place: Cindy Yurth, Navajo Times, “No Relief”
3rd Place: Cindy Yurth, Navajo Times, “Operation Firewater”

Best Column Daily/Weekly Category
1st Place: Steve Russell, Indian Country Today, “Confessions of a Presumed Terrorist”
2nd Place: Charles Trimble, Indian Country Today, “Let Go the Chains of Victimhood”
3rd Place: Kara Briggs, Indian Country Today, “New Track for Indian Health”

Best Column Monthly/Bi-Monthly Category
1st Place: Deborah Locke, Fond du Lac News, “More Rez Adventures with the Indian Scout”
2nd Place: Travis Snell, Cherokee Phoenix, “US Senate Sees the Light”
3rd Place: Christina Good Voice, Cherokee Phoenix, “Perils of Pay Day Loans”

Best Editorial
1st Place: Randi Rourke, Indian Country Today, “A Shining Moment”
2nd Place: Randi Rourke, Indian Country Today, “An Ounce of Prevention”
3rd Place: Jordan Standup, The Eastern Door, “Harper Apology: Too Little, Too Late?”

Best Environmental Story
1st Place: Mary Annette Pember, Tribal College Journal, “Red Road to Green”
2nd Place: Brent Merrill, Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians, “Fuel Spill Leads to Nesting Ground”
3rd Place: Nathan Wisneski, Kalihwisaks Newspaper, “Wind May Be Turning On Lights”

Best Feature Story Daily/Weekly Category
1st Place: Jan-Mikael Patterson, Navajo Times, “Beat Still Strong After 25 Years”
2nd Place: Rob Capriccioso, Indian Country Today, “Indigenous Grandmas Nearly Kicked Out of Vatican”
3rd Place: Steve Bonspiel, The Eastern Door, “Trapped Inside Her Own Body”

Best Feature Story Monthly/Bi-Monthly Category
1st Place: Deborah Krol, Voices Heard: Journal of the Heard Museum “Border Dwellers”
2nd Place: Travis Snell, Cherokee Phoenix, “Art Act In Effect”
3rd Place: Shannon Shaw, Osage News, “Indian Country Responding”

Best Layout Broadsheet Category
1st Place: Indian Country Today, Ken Polisse Jr., Managing Editor
2nd Place: Navajo Times, Duane Beyal, Editor
3rd Place: Cherokee Phoenix, Travis Snell, Assistant Editor

Best Layout Magazine Category
1st Place: Say Magazine, Leslie Lansbury, Publisher
2nd Place: Tribal College Journal of American Indian Higher Education (TCJ), Walt Pourier, Creative Designer
3rd Place: National Indian Education Association, Michael Woestehoff, Membership/Communication

Best Layout Newsletter/Tabloid Category
1st Place: Fond du Lac News, Deborah Locke, Editor
2nd Place: Confederated Umatilla Journal (CUJ), Wil Phinney, Editor
3rd Place: Osage News, Shannon Shaw, Interim Editor

Best News Story Daily/Weekly Category
1st Place: Marley Shebala, Navajo Times, “Stiffed By The Speaker?”
2nd Place: Jason Begay, Navajo Times, “Plenty of Blame in BCDS Boondoggle”
3rd Place: Rob Capriccioso, Indian Country Today, “Native Press Lacks Equal Access to Presidential Campaigns”

Best News Story Monthly/Bi-Monthly Category
1st Place: Christina Good Voice, Cherokee Phoenix, “Rising Fuel Costs Hit Citizens”
2nd Place: Travis Snell, Cherokee Phoenix, “Councilor Wrongly Barred Phoenix Video”
3rd Place: Jami Custer, Cherokee Phoenix, “Cherokee Nation Studies Hasting’s Management”

Best Photo Feature Category
1st Place: Dallas Dick, CTUIR-CUJ, “Waiting and Watching Roundup”
2nd Place: Will Chavez, Cherokee Phoenix, “Area Schools Compete in Stickball Tournament”
3rd Place: Yvonne Kaquatosh, Kalihwisaks Newspaper, “Smoke Dancers”

Best Photo News Category
1st Place: Leigh T. Jimmie, Navajo Times, “Treaty”
2nd Place: Donovan Quintero, Navajo Times, “Bootlegger Bust”
3rd Place: Paul Natonabah, Navajo Times, Butchering”

Best Photo Sports Category
1st Place: Donovan Quintero, Navajo Times, “Junior Rodeo”
2nd Place: Paul Natonabah, Navajo Times, “Rubber Neck”
3rd Place: Donovan Quintero, Navajo Times, “Kick”

Best Sports Story
1st Place: Candace Begody, Navajo Times, “Ride Town”
2nd Place: Cindy Yurth, Navajo Times, “Champion Sisters”
3rd Place: Jason Begay, Navajo Times, “Skins Game”

General Excellence Daily/Weekly Category
1st Place: Navajo Times, Duane Beyal, Editor
2nd Place: Kalihwisaks Newspaper, Dawn Walshinshi, Managing Editor
3rd Place: The Cherokee One Feather, Scott M. Brings Plenty, Reporter

General Excellence News Print Category
1st Place: Cherokee Phoenix, Travis Snell, Assistant Editor
2nd Place: Confederated Umatilla Journal (CUJ), Wil Phinney, Editor
3rd Place: Fond du Lac News, Deborah Locke, Editor

General Excellence Magazine Category
Say Magazine, Leslie Lansbury, Publisher

General Excellence Website Category
1st Place: Lakota Country Times
2nd Place: Kalihwisaks Newspaper, Steven Gandy, Senior Photographer/Reporter
3rd Place: Oneida Indian Nation, Jim Heins, Editorial Services Director

Richard LaCourse Award
Marley Shebala, Navajo Times, “Top Officials Not Charged”

Congratulations to all the winners!

NAJA’s Mission Statement:

The Native American Journalists Association serves and empowers Native journalists through programs and actions designed to enrich journalism and promote Native cultures.

NAJA 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 encourages both mainstream and tribal media to attain the highest standards of professionalism, ethics and responsibility.

For more information about NAJA, visit their website.