NAJA announces 2017 student fellows

Posted by NAJA on 05/23/2017

The Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) has selected 10 student journalists as members of the Native American Journalist Fellowship (NAJF) class of 2017. The students come from tribal communities and colleges across the nation and will travel to the National Native Media Conference at EIJ17 in Anaheim, California Sept. 4-10.

  • AJ Earl, Portland State University, Comanche Nation
  • Jaida Grey Eagle, Institute of American Indian Arts, Oglala Lakota Nation
  • Jorge Martínez, Brown University, Jñatro/Ñuu Sau
  • Kaitlin Boyse, University of Central Oklahoma, Cherokee Nation
  • Kathleen Flynn, CUNY, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians
  • Priestess Bearstops, Minneapolis, Oglala Lakota Nation
  • Sarah Liese, University of Mississippi, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians
  • Shea Smith, University of Oklahoma, Cherokee Nation
  • Tyler Jones, University of Kansas, Choctaw Nation

Ala’a Ibrahim, University of Texas at Austin, is the 2017 UNITY: Journalists for Diversity Fellow and a member of the National Association of Black Journalists. She will attend the NLGJA, AAJA and NAJA conferences, joining all organizations’ student newsrooms.

NAJF is an opportunity for Native American students to deepen their reporting and multimedia skills while learning from tribal journalists and industry professionals from across the country.

“We are very excited for our incoming NAJF class and look forward to covering issues that matter to NAJA as well as Indian Country,” said Victoria LaPoe, NAJA education chair. “We look forward to our mentees learning not only from mentors, but from all members attending the conference.”

Under the direction of Val Hoeppner, digital media consultant and LaPoe, Ph.D., Cherokee, incoming assistant journalism professor at Ohio University, students will work with mentors Tristan Ahtone, 2018 Nieman Fellow and member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma; Graham Brewer, a journalist with The Oklahoman and citizen of the Cherokee Nation; Khloe Keeler, a reporter based in Colorado with KKTV 11 News and member of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska; and Mark Fogarty, a correspondent with Indian Country Today Media Network.

Frank Robertson (Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate), a photographer and former NAJ Fellow will also join the on-site immersion newsroom in a mentor-in-training capacity - a new position created by NAJA to develop the next generation of media educators and leaders.

NAJA serves and empowers Native journalists through programs and actions designed to enrich journalism and promote Native cultures.

“NAJA’s most important role in Indian Country is to create the next generation of storytellers. This exemplary class of student fellows, mentored by our experienced professionals, will soon find their paths into tribal and mainstream newsrooms where they will have a voice in a more fair and accurate portrayal of our communities and cultures,” NAJA President Bryan Pollard said. “I look forward to meeting them at the conference and would encourage our members to stop by the student newsroom to offer encouragement.”

Thanks to generous support from sponsors, all travel expenses including airfare, food and accommodations are covered by NAJA for the newsroom immersion portion of the fellowship. Fellows will also tour local news stations including FNX | First Nations Experience and the NFL Network.

Thanks to support from Columbia University, NAJA will also support five Native American student journalists in attending the EIJ17 conference: Kalen Goodluck (Three Affiliated Tribes) of Bard College; Julian Brave NoiseCat (Secwepemc), a recent graduate of Oxford University, Tsanavi Spoonhunter (Northern Arapaho) and Jarrette Werk (Gros Ventre) both of the University of Nevada-Reno.

Read more about the 2017 Native American Journalism Fellowship class.