Native American Journalists Association

The Native American Journalists Association, based in Norman, Oklahoma on the campus of the University of Oklahoma, is an organization dedicated to supporting Native Americans in journalism.

Mission and structure

The organization seeks to improve the representation of Native Americans in newsrooms and in the profession of journalism,[1] NAJA is a member group of UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc..[2] Each year, the organization recognizes Native American journalists and associate members with journalism awards for excellence in coverage on a variety of topic areas.[3][4][5] NAJA hosts workshops and conferences to teach and share the journalistic skills necessary to cover issues in and about Indian Country.[6]

Tristan Ahtone with High Country News’ tribal affairs desk is the current president.

Student chapters are located at the University of Arizona[7] and Columbia University.[8]


The association was founded as the Native American Press Association in 1984 with initial funding provided by the Gannett Foundation. Adrian C. Louis, Jose Barreiro, Tim Giago, and Bill Dulaney, among others, were founding members.[9][10]

The organization was headquartered at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, South Dakota as of 2002. In 2003 it moved into the Al Neuharth Media Center, where it shared space with the Freedom Forum. In 2008, it moved to the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma.[11][12]

Actions and outreach

The work of the 501(c) organization includes advocating for better representations of Native Americans in the media.[13][14] The organization spoke out against the United States government's use of Geronimo's name as a code for Osama bin Laden.[15][16]

NAJA celebrated its 10th annual Native American Journalism Career Conference at the Crazy Horse Memorial in 2009.[17] The Native American Journalists Association celebrated its 25th annual convention in 2009.[18][19][20]

NAJA has been one of the organizations submitting questions for the 2012 Presidential Debates [21] and other Presidential forums.[22]

A 2009 C-SPAN interview by Sonja Gavankar at the Newseum featured two members of the Native Americans Journalists Association, Jeff Harjo and Rhonda LeValdo, discussing their concerns regarding media coverage of Native Americans.[23]

See also


  1. Edward Schumacher-Matos (2012-04-30). "Six National Leaders And Experts Look At Diversity At NPR". NPR Ombudsman, NPR. Retrieved 2013-02-02.
  2. "Dr. Boyce Watkins; National Association of Black Journalists Split from UNITY…" The Black Man. 13 April 2011 (retrieved 9 May 2011)
  3. Terry Hansen (2011-07-17). "Native American Journalism Excellence". Mother Earth Journal. Retrieved 2013-02-02.
  4. "Native American Journalists Association 2012 Media Award Winners". Navajo Times. 2012-06-19. Retrieved 2013-02-02.
  5. ICTMN Staff (2011-07-20). "Valerie Taliman and Other ICTMN Journalists Honored at NAJA Convention". Indian Country Today Media Network. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
  6. "Covering Business on Tribal Lands." Business Journalism. 2011 (retrieved 9 May 2011).
  7. "Native American Journalists Association". The University of Arizona School of Journalism. Retrieved 2013-02-02.
  8. Ulen, Eisa Nefertari (2011-08-30). "Karuk Journalist Determined to Get Native Stories in Mainstream Media -". Indian Country Today Media Network. Retrieved 2013-02-02.
  9. Giago, Tim (1 April 2011). "Native American Journalists Association Owes A Lot to Allen Neuharth, Founder of USA Today". HuffPost. Retrieved 2011-05-09.
  10. Giago, Tim (2013-09-06). "GIAGO: This Penn State professor deserves the respect of Native journalists". Native American Times, Today's Independent Indian News. Retrieved 2013-02-02.
  11. "American Indian Journalist Group to Move to Oklahoma". Editor & Publisher. 2006-10-26. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
  12. "NAJA accepts invitation to move to Oklahoma". The Norman Transcript. 2006-10-21. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
  13. ICTMN Staff (2012-08-08). "NAJA Concerned About Mainstream Media's Portrayal of Native Americans". Indian Country Today Media Network. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
  14. Joshunda Sanders (2012-08-30). "Mainstream Media's Spotty Coverage of Native America". The Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, Maynard Media Center on Structural Inequity. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
  15. Vanever, L. M. "Geronimo: more than a code name." The Expositioner. 5 May 2011 (retrieved 9 May 2011).
  16. ICTMN Staff (2011-05-04). "NAJA Statement on Geronimo Codename for Osama Bin Laden". Indian Country Today Media Network. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
  17. "Native American Journalism Career Conference". Crazy Horse Memorial. 2009-01-13. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
  18. Florio, Gwen (2009-07-28). "NAJA convention is this week!". The Buffalo Post, a news blog about Native people and the world we live in, at The Missoulian newspaper. Retrieved 2013-02-02.
  19. "Native American Journalism Association Celebrates 25 Years". American Indian College Fund. 2009-08-04. Retrieved 2013-02-02.
  20. Dawn of Nations Staff (May 2009). "NAJA Special Coverage: Native American Journalists Association Celebrates 25 Years". Dawn of Nations Today, Native American Studies, University of New Mexico. Retrieved 2013-02-05.
  21. "Richard Prince's Journal-isms: What Journalists of Color Want to Ask Candidates". The Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. 2012-09-13. Retrieved 2013-02-02.
  22. Mark Trahant (2012-10-02). "Elections 2012: My Sovereign Debate, Recalling George W. Bush's Sovereignty Speech". Indian Country Today Media Network. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
  23. "Media Coverage of Native Americans. Challenges Facing Native Americans in the United States - Close Up at the Newseum". C-SPAN Video Library. 2009-02-12. Retrieved 2013-02-02.
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