The Native American Journalists Association leadership drafted a strategic plan in January 2013 for the organization as it enters a pivotal two-year period of growth, challenge and change.
Executive Director Pamala Silas, who joined NAJA in mid-December 2012, guided the planning, which took place Jan. 11-12 at the University of Oklahoma's Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Several factors led the board to enter the strategic planning process at the beginning of this year. Most important among them was a need to reestablish the value of individual NAJA memberships amid massive changes in the journalism industry. The approaching 30-year anniversary also emphasized the importance of revisiting NAJA's history and understanding its vital place in Indian Country.
Five major goals emerged from the two-day planning session:
- Improve and increase Natives' media presence by elevating NAJA as the go-to resource for a Native journalistic talent pipeline and source of information for our field.
- Review and upgrade the current governing structure.
- Grow membership through an improved internal system, incentives and restructuring.
- Raise NAJA's profile and rebuild our brand.
- Deliver quality programs and support services to increase membership value.
NAJA leadership intends to significantly strengthen the organization in each of the listed areas by 2015.
We recognize that not meeting the majority of these goals would mean American Indian communities would be without a strong voice that fundamentally understands the nation's news industry and can affectively advocate for press fairness. This, in turn, also would mean Indian Country would not have a strong organization fully focused on addressing and improving news coverage about Native Americans.
NAJA thanks Assistant Dean John Hockett, of Gaylord College, for contributing to the planning process.