NAJA Announces 2017 Award Winners

Indian Country Today

ICMN nets 30 awards from the Native American Journalism Associations

More than 250 Native and non-Native journalists from across Turtle Island will be in Anaheim, California from September 7-10 to participate in this year’s Native American Journalists Association’s (NAJA) 2017 National Native Media Awards Banquet.

NAJA, in coordination with Excellence in Journalism (EIJ17) received more than 700 entries from Native and non-Native journalists across the US and Canada this year, and Indian Country Media Network and its contributors were honored 30 times this year.

Most of ICMN’s awards came from the Professional Division III – Online division. In division III Ryan Redcorn received second place honors in the best column category for Redcorn: An Oil and Natural Gas Thanksgiving and Faith Spotted Eagle took third place in the same category for her column ‘Obama, Hear Our Cry’: Lakota Women Call on President to Stop Violence.

ICMN swept the Best Environmental Coverage category as Teri Hansen’s Columbia River Tribes Speak Out as Flaming Bakken Train Leaks Oil received first place honors; followed by Frank Hopper’s Is It Safe? Mercury Found in Subsistence Seal Meat, Alaskan Mine Suspected; and Suzette Brewer’s Poisoned Waters: Navajo Communities Still Struggle After Mining Disaster respectively.

In the Best News Story category, Tristan Ahone received top honors for his piece The Arizona tribe that knows how to stop a Trump wall that appeared in Yes! Magazine. ICMN received second and third place honors as Suzette Brewer’s ‘I am X’: Mormon Church Faces Growing Sex Abuse Scandal, Pt. 1 was second, followed by Chelsey Luger’s Great Sioux Nation Defends Its Waters From Dakota Access Pipeline.

Much like the best environmental coverage, ICMN swept the best feature story category with Pember’s Standing Ground on NoDAPL: Oceti Sakowin School Educates Next Generation taking first place; followed by Sarah Sunshine Manning’s Manning: ‘And Then the Dogs Came’: Dakota Access Gets Violent, Destroys Graves, Sacred Sites; and Frank Hopper’s What’s in a (Clan) Name? Tlingit Tattoo Artist Takes on Facebook and His Culture. Hopper and Pember received three awards overall, Hansen and Brewer two each.

Indian Country Today Media Network also received the award for best digital publication in the online division.

In the Professional Division III – Print/Online category ICMN received five awards. Suzan Shown Harjo received a second place honor for best editorial with ‘Off the Reservation’ – A Teachable Moment. Dallas Goldtooth received a third place nod for best news photo with Judge temporarily halts DAPL construction on select ground but not in desecrated area.

A new category this year looked to recognize the best coverage of Elders in tribal communities. ICMN’s Hopper took home first place honors with Honoring Native Grandmas: Katie John Day Moves Closer to Reality; while Hansen received a third place nod with Two Women Warriors Who Fight for Pacific Northwest Salmon.

Pember received first place honors for excellence in beat reporting for her series of work entitled Living the Life; the series tackled the harsh but very real topic of human trafficking and sexual abuse across Indian country.

Matika Wilbur received first and third place honors in the Professional Division III (circulation more than 10,000) – Print (Monthly/Semimonthly) category for best news photo. Her photo Canoes on the Missouritook first place, with Stars and Protectors taking third respectively. Dallas Goldtooth took second place honors for ICMN in the same category for his photo Water Is Life. All three images appeared in ICMN’s specialty print publication on the Dakota Access Pipeline situation produced in September 2016.

Other ICMN photo award honors went to Amy Morris, Mary Annette Pember and Lucas Reynolds. Morris took second place with Running the Boards in the Professional Division III – Print (Daily/Weekly) best sports photo category. Pember took first places honors in the Best feature photo category which was combined with the monthly/semimonthly category with her photo titled Fear Is Big Oil’s Main Message. Reynolds was second with DAPL injunction, federal agencies intervene.

Non-Native contributions

ICMN non-Native contributors pulled in a total of seven awards from the Associate Division III – Print/Online division. Joseph Zummo received second place honors in the best sports photo department for Native Lives Matter – Puyallaps Take the Lead in Washington State. Lee Allen received the third place nod in the same category for Burning Up the Track. Jack McNeel received second place honors for best feature photo with Rocky Boy Rez Turns 100 – Celebrate with 12 Great Pow Wow Pics!

Alysa Landry tallied up multiple awards in the Associate Division. She received second place honors in the best feature story category with Navajo Siblings Claim ‘Horrific’ Sexual Abuse; Sue Mormons; second place for best news story with Drunk Town, USA: The Ditch Patrol Trying to Save Drunks in Gallup, New Mexico; and first place for best environmental coverage with The ‘What Ifs’ of Fracking: Navajos Wonder Whether Chemicals Are Deforming Their Livestock.

Douglas Thompson received a second place honor in best environmental coverage for his story entitled Carbon Credits Help Tribes Preserve Culture, Climate and Bottom Line.

Cliff Matias rounded out the awards for ICMN with a first place nod for best news photo in the Associate – Division II/III – print/online category for the photo titled 5th Ave Became Native.

Notable winners were:

Professional Division I (Circulation below 5,000)

Hocak Worak led the way in the division with 14 awards including six honors for Tim Wohlers. Wohlers received first place honors with best environmental coverage which was a tie with fellow Hocak Worak writer Ken Luchterhand. Luchterhand added four other awards for a total of five.

The Tribal Tribune received first place honors for general excellence along with 12 other awards, led by Cary Rosenbaum, a frequent ICMN contributor, who received seven nods including first place honors for best elder coverage; best sports story; and best feature story. Shane Moses took five honors for the Tribune.

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

Osage News led division II print/online with 15 awards that included a first place for general excellence. Shannon Shaw Duty garnered four awards for the paper that included a first place for best news story, two second place nods, and a third place honor.

The Confederated Umatilla Journal garnered nine awards; followed by Native Sun News with five awards; and Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribal Tribune and Comanche Nation News with four honors.

Native News Today received three awards in the TV category, with KOSU/Invisible Nations and Mvskoke Radio taking awards for Radio.

Professional Division III (Circulation above 10,000)

ICMN led division III with 22 awards. The Navajo Times received 15 awards including best layout and general excellence in print for daily/weekly publications. Terry Bowman garnered four of those awards for the publication. Krista Allen and Donovan Quintero each pulled in three awards.

The Cherokee Phoenix received nine awards with general excellence for print in monthly/semimonthly publications. Will Chavez received three awards, with Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton and Jami Murphy each taking two awards for the publication.

National Native News received five awards in Radio, with New Mexico In Focus earning three in TV; as did Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People.

Tim Giago was named the 2017 NAJA-Medill Milestone Achievement Award, while Smoke Signals, the newspaper of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, received the 2017 NAJA Elias Boudinot Free Press Award. There was no 2017 NAJA Richard LaCourse Award given this year.

Student Category

KLWN Lawrence’s Tyler Jones received first place honors for best feature story and best news story in the radio category. Haskell Indian Leader earned four of the six awards in the TV division sweeping the best news story category and earning a third place honor for best feature story.

The Haskell Indian Leader team made a strong showing on the print/online side as well, garnering 16 awards in total. Lori Hassleman led the way for the team with 5 awards that included best editorial, best feature story and best news story. Haskell Indian Leader also received the nod for general excellence in student coverage.

Associate Category – Division I

Valerie Niahaus received four awards with the Potawatomi Traveling Times with a first place honor for best feature story, along with two seconds and a third place honor.

The Seminole Tribune received three honors in the division. Beverly Bidney received two of the awards for the Tribune a first for best news story and a second for best coverage of Native America.

Associate Category – Division II

The Seminole Tribune garnered eight awards in the division with Kevin Johnson and Beverly Bidney each taking four awards apiece for the publication. Johnson received first place nods for best sports photo (also took second) and best sports story (along with second) in the division that was combined with division I. Bidney earned two second and two third place honors.

Wil Phinney led the division with six awards, which he pulled in for the Confederated Umatilla Journal. Phinney swept the best news story category along with a second and two third place nods.

The Muscogee Nation News received four awards with the Tribal Tribune and Smoke Signals both received three awards.

Associate Category – Division III

ICMN led the division with seven awards with Hownikan,, In These Times, and Yes! Magazineeach receiving two awards. Longtime ICMN contributor Stephanie Woodard received both awards for In These Times. She received a first place award for best coverage of Native America and third place honor in best feature story. Mark Trahant, another ICMN contributor and founder of Trahant Reports, received a third place honor in Best Coverage of Native America on a co-bylined article with Michael J. Dax for Yes! Magazine. They received the award for their two-part series on the rise of Native Americans in politics.

See the entire list of NAJA award winners here.