NAJA announces 2018 Facebook Journalism Project Scholarship recipients

Posted by Native American Journalists Association on 05/17/2018

NORMAN, Oklahoma -- The Facebook Journalism Project and the Native American Journalists Association established the NAJA Facebook Journalism Project Scholarship in an effort to support quality journalism that strengthens and connects communities.

For the 2018-19 school year, NAJA will award five scholarships of $10,000 each to NAJA students pursuing careers in media.

  • Emily Dunford, Muscogee (Creek) Nation, University of Oklahoma

  • AJ Earl, Comanche Nation, American University

  • Storme Jones, Cherokee Nation, University of Oklahoma

  • Tsanavi Spoonhunter, Northern Arapaho Tribe, University of California at Berkeley

  • Jolene Yazzie, Navajo Nation, Metropolitan State University of Denver

Emily Dunford 

Emily Dunford is a senior at the University of Oklahoma studying Broadcast Journalism at the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication.She is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and a 2018 Native American Journalism Fellow. 

She has worked at SoonerVision for the past year, where she shoots and edits all of her own packages, works the camera for athletic events, reports for men’s and women’s tennis and OU Sooner Football’s Facebook Live. She has also gained experience working in the Gaylord College’s local news station, OU Nightly where she is the sports brief anchor responsible for writing scripts and editing video. In addition, she has worked at a local sports radio station,

KREF SportsTalk 1400. She also serves as the vice president of her sorority, Alpha Phi.

AJ Earl

AJ Earl, Comanche Nation, is a journalism student at Portland State University and an incoming student at American University. They are a 2018 NAJA Columbia University Scholar.

As a journalist, Earl has emphasized Indigenous views and voices. As a citizen of the Comanche Nation, Earl says elevating and centering an Indigenous voice and point of view is paramount. Among Earl’s journalistic works are an article on the push to pass a law creating an Indigenous curriculum in Oregon public schools and a profile on Portland State University’s Native American Student and Community Center. They also write extensively on current events in politics.

Beyond journalism, their work as a student has included work on the history of the Native American Journalists Association. For Earl, journalism and history are the same thing.

“They’re both storytelling, but with digital ink.”

Earl, a 2017 Native American Journalism Fellow, will join the 2018 NAJF newsroom as a mentor-in-training and web editor at the 2018 National Native Media Conference in Miami, Fl July 18-21.

Storme Jones

Storme Jones is a student at the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication where he has produced significant content that has highlighted social issues and given voice to underserved communities. 

Storme’s experience in reporting includes in-depth stories with KGOU Radio, the University’s National Public Radio member station, where he has reported on interactions between law enforcement and people with autism and the elevated issues that often harmed people with special needs. His reporting eventually led to a change in the way an Oklahoma police department trained it’s officers.

This summer, Jones is working on a national reporting project through the Cronkite School of

Journalism at Arizona State University. Through the investigative project, he will build upon research conducted this semester to tell the stories of people who have been victimized by hate crimes. In the fall, he will be part of Gaylord College’s inaugural Washington D.C. program where he will live in the nation’s capital and report on issues affecting Oklahomans, for mainstream media outlets.

Tsanavi Spoonhunter

Tsanavi Spoonhunter is the daughter of the late Alan Ray Spoonhunter and Linda Mallory Spoonhunter. She is of Lakota and Northern Paiute ancestry, and an enrolled member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe. Spoonhunter was born and raised in the Inyo County of California which has fostered a love for nature and the great outdoors. As a future 2020 graduate, Tsanavi will hold a master's degree in documentary journalism from the University of California, Berkeley. Following her graduate career, she hopes to bring Native American issues to an international audience, and document tribal culture through film. 

Jolene Yazzie

Jolene Nenibah Yazzie is Diné of the Black Streak Forest People born for One Who Walks Around. She plans to continue studies at Metropolitan State University (MSU) of Denver as a junior pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, with interest in photojournalism. 

As Feature Editor for the MSU newspaper, The Metropolitan, she was responsible for the content, design, headlines and captions, working with reporters to meet weekly deadlines. Yazzie also worked as a gallery assistant and graphic designer at the Center for Visual Arts Gallery of MSU, located in the Santa Fe Art District of Denver. She is currently working on a mural inside the Harwood Museum of Art in Taos, New Mexico. The exhibit is called Work By Women: and her mural is titled “Sisters of War.”

The 2018 NAJA-Facebook Scholarship recipients were announced via livestream on the NAJA Facebook page at 12 noon CT, hosted by NAJA Board Member Ramona Marozas.

NAJA will award a total of $250,000 in scholarships through the Facebook Journalism Program over the next five years. Students that applied but were not selected in 2018 are encouraged to re-apply in 2019.

Scholarships are one way NAJA supports Indigenous journalism at every stage of members’ careers. NAJA student members can also apply for the annual Native American Journalism Fellowship, NBC News Summer Internships and other training opportunities throughout the year.