NAJA Announces 2016 Media Award Winners, ICTMN Earns 16


The Native American Journalists Association announced more than 200 national media awards recognizing excellence in reporting on Native issue by Natives and non-Native journalists in the U.S. and Canada.

ICTMN was honored 16 times in the Division III (circulation more than 10,000) Professional Online – Daily/Weekly category.

Steve Russell’s “The Untrustworthy Feds Teach Natives About Trust” took second place for best column, with Terese Marie Mailhot’s “Resenting White Women Is Exhausting” placing third. Taté Walker took first place honors in the category with her column “Four things your history teacher didn’t know about Native Americans but you should” in the magazine Everyday Feminism.

ICTMN swept the Best Editorial category. Russell’s “The Oregon Standoff and the Cowboy Lawyers” took first, followed by Mary Annette Pember’s “A Fight Against Historical Trauma the Yup’ik Way” and Sarah Sunshine Manning’s “Manning: Thanksgiving Myth Creates Fairytale of Land Theft, Betrayal, Genocide,” respectively.

Walker took first place for ICTMN in the Best Feature Photo category with her main image accompanying “The Native American Dream: Ojibwe Woman Leads Sustainability Movement Off Reservation.” Pember took second for her photo (image four in gallery) in “Gallery: Fighting Against Historical Trauma, the Yup’ik Way.” ICTMN also swept the Best Sports Photo Online category with Charlotte “Skaruianewah” Logan earning first (Johnny Powless Gives It His Best) and third (Creation Story Photo of Twins) place honors, with Vincent Schilling taking second (Pee Wee Lacrosse). All three images were taken during the World Indoor Lacrosse Championships held on Onondaga Territory over the summer of 2015.

Suzette Brewer earned third place honors in the Best Feature Story category for “War of Words: ICWA Hearings Reignite Ancient Clash Over Indian Children, Part 1.”

Schilling earned second place honors for Best Sports Story with “Iroquois Nationals Best England in First International Game on Onondaga Land.”

In the Best News Story category, Frank Hopper’s “Lummi Youth Learn the Bigger Picture: Canoes Join Kayactivists Protesting Arctic Drilling” took second, with Alex Jacobs’ “Remembering the Life and Legacy of John Trudell” receiving third place honors.

Within the Associate Division III –Daily/Weekly for print/online category recognizing non-Native contributions ICTMN received three awards.

Richard Walker’s “‘Welcome Home’ Fairbanks Four” received first place honors for best feature story with Alysa Landry’s “Navajo Election: How We Got Here?” taking second.

Gale Courey Toensing took third place honors for Best Coverage of Native America with her story “Maine Governor Affirms and Rejects Tribal Sovereignty in New Executive Order.” Frequent ICTMN contributor Stephanie Woodard took first and second in this category with her work for the blog Rural America in These Times.

This year, NAJA also honored the work of Patty Talahongva, Antonia Gonzales, Pauly Denetclaw and Mvskoke Media with top honors.

Talahongva was the recipient of the 2016 NAJA-Medill Milestone Achievement Award. The lifetime NAJA member began her journalism career in 1978 as a correspondent for her high school for the city newspaper’s The Teen Gazette according to the NAJA press release. Talahongva has worked in radio, magazine, as well as producing documentaries for PBS and HBO.

Gonzales and Denetclaw were honored with the 2016 NAJA Richard LaCourse Award for their coverage of the Gold King Mine waste spill in Colorado for National Native News. The pair traveled to Shiprock, New Mexico to report on communities affected by the spill in the days following.

Mvskoke Media was honored as the 2016 NAJA Elias Boudinot Free Press Award. In October 2015, The Muscogee (Creek) Nation passed the free press act establishing free press protections for the tribe’s media division. Since then, Mvskoke Media, which includes Muscogee Nation News, Native News Today and Muscogee Radio, along with graphic design and print divisions, “has continued to produce outstanding coverage over the course of the last year,” according to the NAJA release. Mvskoke Media was also recognized by the Oklahoma Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists with the 2016 Carter Bradley First Amendment Award.

“I’m thrilled that once again the significance of this legislation is being recognized,” Mvskoke Media Interim Manager Jason Salsman said in a release following the award announcement. “We have a tremendous responsibility to our citizens, a relationship we will continue to embrace and cultivate.”

Notable winners were:

Student Category:

Haskell’s media team earned 10 awards for Haskell Indian Leader spanning TV and print/online categories including General Excellence honors in Print (first) and TV (second). Ravonelle Yazzie earned four awards for photography in the Navajo Times.

Associate Category – Division I-II

The Seminole Tribune pulled in eight awards in this non-Native contributor category, with Beverly Bidney earning five of them. The Potawatomi Traveling Times received seven honors, with Valerie Niehaus snagging five of them. Wil Phinney received all four awards given to the Confederated Umatilla Journal.

Associate Category – Division III

For the non-Native category with a circulation more than 10,000, Al Jazeera English earned three awards for TV. Hownikan received two awards for print monthly/semimonthly.

Professional Division I (Circulation below 5,000)

The Southern Ute Drum garnered nine awards, with Sacha Smith and Damon Toledo each earning three. The Tribal Tribune received seven awards, all of them awarded to frequent ICTMN contributor Cary Rosenbaum. Hocak Worak received six awards, with Marlan WhiteEagle snagging four of them.

Professional Division II (Circulation 5,000-10,000)

Osage News garnered 11 awards, with Shannon Shaw-Duty earning four of them for the tribal newspaper. Among the awards were third place for General Excellence (third) and first in Excellence in Beat Reporting. Native Sun News tallied six awards, including top honors in General Excellence. Four publications finished with four awards each: Smoke Signals, Muscogee Nation News, Confederated Umatilla Journal and Comanche Nation News.

Professional Division III (Circulation above 10,000)

Tristan Ahtone earning four awards: second place – Best Feature Story – TV daily/weekly; first place – Best Feature Story – Online; first place – Best Sports Story – Online; and first place – Best News Story – Online.

Jennifer Loren with Osiyo TV earned four awards as well. First and third for Best Feature Story – TV – monthly/semi-monthly; first and third - Best News Story – TV TV – monthly/semi-monthly. Osiyo TV took second place for TV General Excellence, with FNX earning first place honors.

In Radio Native America Calling earned four awards, with National Native News close behind with three.

The Navajo Times pulled in 19 awards in the daily/weekly division. Among them were Best Feature Photo, Best Feature Story, Best Sports Photo, Best Sports Story, Best News Story, Best Layout and General Excellence.

The Cherokee Phoenix earned six awards in the Print – Monthly/Semimonthly with Best Layout, General Excellence and Excellence in Beat Reporting top honors among them. Native Peoples Magazine earned three awards

NAJA’s annual Media Awards Banquet will be in New Orleans, on September 20.

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