The Native American Journalists Association and Report for America take new steps to strengthen reporting in Indigenous communities

NORMAN, Oklahoma — The Native American Journalists Association and Report for America are partnering to support 20 reporting positions across the country that focus on or include Indigenous affairs. This groundbreaking initiative aims to strengthen local journalism in areas where Indigenous peoples play vital roles in the community.

Report for America is a national service program that places talented, emerging journalists into local news organizations to report for one to two years on under-covered issues and communities. Both newsrooms and journalists apply to participate in the program and Report for America contributes to each corps member’s salary up to $20,000. Corps members are full-time employees of their newsroom.

Report for America currently has 10 corps members covering Indigenous affairs exclusively or related beats. In June 2020, Report for America will double these efforts with 10 additional positions. This is an unprecedented increase in local reporting for Indigenous communities in the U.S. These journalists will be part of RFA’s 2020 corps totaling 250 emerging journalists committed to addressing critical coverage gaps across the country. 

NAJA will provide Report for America with comprehensive support on training, to address the critical need for journalism in Indigenous communities. NAJA will extend ethical, culturally competent guidance to corps members and host newsrooms, along with deep expertise on reporting in Indian country, helping news organizations develop best practices and sustainable models that can be maintained well into the future. NAJA will also support Report for America’s mentorship program and recruitment efforts.

“Through the NAJA/RFA partnership, we’re helping newsrooms to report for Indigenous communities instead of about those communities,” said Tristan Ahtone, president of NAJA’s Board of Directors. “Our goal is to increase the ability of news outlets to do great work from Indian Country and provide the support necessary to do so.”

“The history of U.S. journalism is largely a history of neglecting and even harming Indigenous communities,” said Maggie Messitt, Senior Advisor of Report for America. “And, yet, local news organizations across the country are recognizing the need to finally address this critical coverage gap in substantial numbers. We’re thrilled to support twenty of our host newsrooms in these efforts. Our partnership with NAJA is a critical part of that equation. NAJA represents unparalleled knowledge, training and support for Native and non-Native reporters who cover indigenous affairs. With their support, our corps members are delivering stories that are meaningful and well-informed.”

This initiative supports NAJA’s mission of empowering Indigenous journalists through programs and actions designed to enrich journalism and promote Indigenous cultures. This continues and expands upon the training NAJA already started with Report for America corps members in June 2019.

Separately, NAJA and RFA will also make this training available to Report for America’s statehouse reporting positions in states with significant Indigenous communities. 

NAJA encourages its members to apply for these positions and others that Report for America seeks to fill as another step towards fulfilling its long-term equity goal of increasing Indigenous representation in mainstream newsrooms. Report for America applications close January 31.

All open positions can be found here. The 20 positions covering Indigenous affairs exclusively or related issues that will renew or begin in June 2020 include: 

  • Albuquerque Journal * (Albuquerque, New Mexico) — Water resources in the state, including within the Navajo Nation 
  • Casper Star-Tribune * (Wind River Reservation, Wyoming) — Indigenous affairs on the Wind River Reservation
  • Green Bay Press-Gazette (Green Bay, Wisconsin) — Indigenous affairs in Green Bay and Wisconsin as a whole
  • Herald and News (Klamath Falls, Oregon) — Endangered species, water rights and issues associated with a dam removal, including its impact on Indigenous communities
  • Honolulu Civil Beat * (Honolulu, Hawaii) — Public health disparities with an emphasis on Indigenous communities
  • KCAW-FM (Sitka, Alaska) — Sitka and the surrounding communities
  • KTVH-TV, NBC (Helena, Montana) — Indigenous affairs
  • KUER, NPR * (Salt Lake City, Utah) — Indigenous affairs in southern Utah
  • Las Cruces Sun-News (Las Cruces, New Mexico) — Education issues across the state, including within the Navajo Nation
  • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee) — Hmong, Indigenous and other under-covered ethnic communities
  • New Mexico In Depth (Rio Rancho, New Mexico) — Urban Native Americans in Albuquerque
  • Searchlight New Mexico (Santa Fe, New Mexico) — Health care, including mental health care, for the state’s poorest residents, including the Navajo Nation
  • South Dakota Public Broadcasting (Vermillion, South Dakota) — Ethnic communities with an emphasis on Indigenous communities across the state
  • The Cordova Times (Cordova, Alaska) — Indigenous communities in the region
  • The Desert Sun (Palm Springs, California) — Indigenous affairs in Coachella Valley
  • The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead (Fargo, North Dakota) — Indigenous affairs in North Dakota
  • The Salt Lake Tribune * (Salt Lake City, Utah) — San Juan County, including the Navajo Nation
  • The Spokesman-Review * (Spokane, Washington) — Public health in eastern Washington State, including Indigenous communities
  • Wyoming Public Media * (Wind River Reservation, Wyoming) — Indigenous affairs on the Wind River Reservation
  • Yellowstone Public Radio (Billings, Montana) — Indigenous affairs

* Position will be filled by a renewing corps member.

 

About NAJA

NAJA 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.

About RFA

Report for America is a national service program that places talented, emerging journalists into local news organizations to report for one to two years on under-covered issues and communities. An initiative of The GroundTruth Project, Report for America addresses an urgent need in journalism at a time when news deserts are widening across the country, leaving communities uninformed on local issues and threatening our democracy.