NAJA to elect three to board of directors July 11 during 2015 National Native Media Conference

Posted by Rebecca Landsberry on 06/30/2015

The Native American Journalists Association Board of Directors has three vacancies for 3-year terms, which will begin in July 2015. 

NAJA members will elect new board members through a balloted vote on Saturday, July 11 in conjunction with the 2015 National Native Media Conference in Arlington, Virginia. Members currently in good standing may vote at the NAJA booth in the conference exhibit hall from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. 

candidate forum is set for Friday, July 10 from 8:30-9:30 a.m., in the Potomac 4 room at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City (2799 Jefferson Davis Hwy. Arlington, VA 22202).

For questions about elections, contact NAJA Election Committee Chair Jolene Schonchin at [email protected]

Meet the candidates: 

Jennifer Bell

Jennifer Bell is currently the Director of Public Information for the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. In her role at CPN, she is responsible for publishing a monthly tribal newspaper, developing public relations and marketing campaigns for tribal enterprises and acting as a liaison between the tribe and local media and governments. 

Prior to joining Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Jennifer worked as communications manager for Cherokee Nation Businesses. While at CNB, Jennifer oversaw public relations for Cherokee Nation’s gaming and tourism endeavors.

Jennifer has worked on many publications throughout her career, including the Hownikan, which won an award for general excellence from the Native American Journalist Association and Where the Casino Money Goes, which won an award for best external publication from the Ragan PR Daily Awards. 

Jennifer works diligently to educate and inform the world about the positive impact tribal governments have in their communities. She is a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and the Cherokee Nation.

Jennifer received a Bachelor of Arts from The University of Tulsa in 2007.

Edgar Blatchford

Edgar Blatchford is the owner of the All Alaska News Unlimited, LLC., the holding company of two rural Alaska weekly newspapers - The Seward Phoenix Log (serving Seward and the eastern Kenai Penninsula) and the Tundra Drums (serving Bethel and the 56 villages on the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta). 

He started writing for newspapers at age 15 and bought his first weekly newspaper in 1984. He is a graduate of Columbia University in the City of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He also teaches journalism, Alaska Native Politics, and corporate democracy of Native corporations at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Darren Brown

Darren Brown is Cochiti Pueblo and Choctaw.

“I’ve spent my entire professional career in television, as a studio camera operator, tape operator, photographer, and reporter.  I won’t tell you how long I’ve been in it…okay, almost 30 years!  Currently, I currently produce content for Cheyenne and Arapaho Television, the only Native-owned and operated broadcast TV station in Oklahoma. 

I’ve been involved with NAJA for just a short time, but I’m amazed at the hard work and dedication I see from each member.  I’m encouraged with the growth of Native media, but there is so much more to be done.  That’s why I’ve gotten involved with NAJA’s Native American Journalism Fellowship, mentoring Native journalism students at the 2014 conference and this year as well.  I’ve also helped establish a “TV Boot Camp” for Cheyenne and Arapaho students in our tribal service area. 

The latest numbers I’ve seen from Radio Television Digital News Association  (RTNDA) put the number of Native Americans in radio at 1.7%, and the number of Native Americans in TV at 0.4%.  This has to change.  We have to find those talented youth from all over Indian Country and train them up to be strong voices for their people.  It won’t be easy, but we really have no choice.

Native media needs to be a sustainable force that will never fade.  That’s why I’m a candidate for NAJA’s board of directors.  I believe I can work with other board members to grow NAJA’s membership and bring us to a point where we ARE the ‘mainstream.’ Thank you for your consideration.” 

Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton

A citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton is a freelance reporter based out of Tulsa, Okla. Her work currently appears in the Native American Times, the Tahlequah (Okla.) Daily Press, the Tulsa (Okla.) World, the Native Health News Alliance and the Fort Sill Apache Tribe's newsletter.


She is a 2006 and 2008 graduate of Oklahoma State University, with bachelor's degrees in journalism and political science and a master's in international studies. When she is not chasing her husband, Jacob Burton, or their now three-year-old daughter, Krehbiel-Burton volunteers with the Oklahoma Quiz Bowl Alliance and serves on the board of directors for Alpha Pi Omega Sorority, Inc., the country's oldest and largest Native American Greek-letter organization.

She is a member of the Native American Journalists Association, the Society of Environmental Journalists and the Oklahoma Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Rob Capriccioso

Rob Capriccioso is the Washington D.C. reporter for Indian Country Today Media Network. An enrolled citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, he has spent several years covering Native politics and policy from the federal level.

“I wish to raise NAJA's profile in this evolving media era by supporting young Native journalists, encouraging fearless and factual reporting, and inspiring the membership through innovation.” 

Karin Eagle

An enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Karin Eagle was raised on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Her mother Sylvia is Oglala while her father Kenneth is Sioux/Assinaboine from the Fort Peck Reservation in Montana. 

After graduating high school in Pine Ridge, Karin attended Oglala Lakota College where she studied Lakota Arts, History and Language. At Chadron State College in Nebraska, Karin studied theater arts and communication.

After leaving Nebraska, Karin and her family, which includes three children, Miguel, Maya and Benicio, relocated to Rapid City, South Dakota where she began her career in journalism in 2009 at Native Sun News(NSN). NSN is one of the larger weekly publications in South Dakota, the largest of the Native-owned and operated newspapers, under the direction of Tim Giago. 

After a couple of turns as staff writer for NSN, Karin was offered the opportunity to advance her career as editor at the Lakota Country Times out of the Pine Ridge Reservation. It was through her work there that she caught the attention of the new President of UNITY: Journalists for Diversity, Russell Contreras. The breaking story reporting the alleged assault on 57 Lakota children at a hockey game led Contreras to approach Karin and ask if she would be interested in doing some work with UNITY.

The result of that collaboration was the first-ever regional event hosted by UNITY, of which Karin was named the first-ever regional chair. “Empower Your Lakota Voice” was the theme of the one-day summit that pulled various Native journalists from across the Midwest and Southwest to convene in Allen, South Dakota with the goal of inspiring and empowering community members to enter into their own forms of journalism and storytelling. 

Due to the work that Karin has embarked in as an advocate and promoter of empowering Native Americans to find and utilize their voices in their own cultural context to tell their own stories, her journalism work has taken her into the grand world of freelance writing. She is currently writing stories for Lakota Country Times as well as Last Real Indians in addition to her blog writing.

John Harrington

John Harrington began his professional photojournalist career in 1990, and has remained an accredited photojournalist since that time. Harrington currently serves as an elected board member of the National Press Photographers Association, The American Society of Media Photographers, and the White House News Photographers Association. 

He is the author of several books, including the best-selling Best Business Practices for Photographers, and the 2015 follow-up, MORE Best Business Practices for Photographers, and Harrington has travelled the country in association with these organizations presenting workshops on copyright and contracts and other best business practices for photographers. 

Harrington continues his 25 years working as a full-time photographer, routinely covering the White House, Capitol Hill, and the greater Washington DC area, however his freelance work continues to take him to various locations around the world on assignment. 

“I hope to bring better awareness to the broader journalistic community about the needs of NAJA members, and the importance that our organization plays in reporting on both Native and non-Native issues.  Through my relationships with other organizations, I hope to bridge the gap and help further the issues that matter most to NAJA.”

Bryan Pollard

Bryan Pollard is the executive editor of the Cherokee Phoenix and has worked for the Phoenix since 2003. He is the great-grandson of Cherokee Nation original enrollees John Albert Terrell and Mary Elizabeth Taylor Terrell of Tahlequah, Okla. 

During his tenure as executive editor, Bryan has expanded the audience of the Cherokee Phoenix by improving the quality of the newspaper and implementing new products such as the website, a daily electronic newsletter, a weekly radio show, online videos, and the adoption of social media pages. The Phoenix has also played a vital role in using the Cherokee language in its print and digital products. As a result, the Cherokee Phoenix has been recognized as one of the best newspapers in the state of Oklahoma.

Bryan is a lifetime member of the Native American Journalists Association and has served as a board member for NAJA and the North American Street Newspaper Association. He is a certified high school journalism teacher and has taught at Sequoyah High School, an Indian boarding school in Tahlequah, and has served as a mentor for numerous journalism workshops including the Oklahoma Institute for Diversity in Journalism, the Society of Professional Journalists Working Press, the UNITY News and the NAJA Student Projects and Project Phoenix. He is currently a member of NAJA’s Free Press Committee.