This Thursday morning, the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) has selected Mary Annette Pember as the recipient of the 2018 NAJA-Medill Milestone Achievement Award and Mark Trahant as the recipient of the 2018 NAJA Richard LaCourse Award.
According to NAJA, Pember was nominated by the NAJA-Medill selection committee for her lifetime of service to journalism and many years of dedication to NAJA as a longtime member and leader of the organization. Trahant was nominated for his Native elections coverage, and dedication to NAJA as a lifetime member and leader of the organization.
Here are details of the award and recipients as released by NAJA:
Mary Annette Pember
Mary Annette Pember is an independent journalist focusing on Native American issues. In her writing and photography she has covered subjects including the high rates of sexual assault among Native women, sex trafficking, health, impact of historical trauma on Native communities and environmental challenges on Native lands, federal policy issues as well as cultural and spiritual topics.
She is a past president and executive director of NAJA, and winner of several industry awards and fellowships from the International Center for Journalism, Women in Communications, The Associated Press, University of Southern California Annenberg School of Journalism, the Carter Center, The University of Maryland and others.
She is an enrolled member of the Red Cliff Band of Wisconsin Ojibwe tribe and currently lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her family.
A $5,000 cash prize will also be presented in partnership with the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University located in Evanston, Illinois.
Dr. Patty Loew will present the award on behalf of Medill during the NAJA Membership Luncheon and Business Meeting on Thursday, July 19 at the 2018 National Native Media Conference in Miami.
Members of the selection committee, including past winners, will present the award to Pember who will be a featured speaker for the event.
Mark Trahant is editor of Indian Country Today. He was appointed to lead the digital enterprise on March 1.
“Even though ink has been replaced by pixels, the task remains the same – to publish an informative daily account that’s comprehensive and adds context to the stories missing from the mainstream media,” Trahant said. “We have so many stories to tell. Our mission is simple but important: Solid, factual reporting. Great writing. Photography that inspires and records. Provide a real service to readers across Indian Country’s digital landscape.”
Trahant was recently elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
He also hosts a weekly newsmagazine on FNX, "Wassaja."
Trahant had been a professor at the University of North Dakota and the University of Alaska Anchorage. He has also taught at the University of Idaho and the University of Colorado.
Two recent projects of note: Last summer Trahant extensively chronicled the impact of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid on the Indian health system. He said he had planned on writing a book that summer, but instead wrote 85,000 words on health care in his blog. He has also been collecting information and lists about Native Americans running for elective office, with his data often being cited as a story idea among mainstream reporters.
Trahant reports and comments on events and trends on Facebook, Twitter (@TrahantReports) and other social media. He does a weekly audio commentary for Native Voice One.
He’s been a reporter for PBS’ Frontline series. The Frontline piece, “The Silence,” was about sexual abuse by priests in a Alaska native village. He also has been editor-in-residence at the University of Idaho in the spring of 2011 and again in 2012. He taught courses on social media, the American West and editorial writing. In 2009 and 2010 Trahant was a Kaiser Media Fellow writing about health care reform focused on programs the government already operates, such as the Indian Health Service. He was recently the Atwood Chair of Journalism at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Trahant is the former editor of the editorial page for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer where he chaired the daily editorial board, directed a staff of writers, editors and a cartoonist. He has also worked at The Seattle Times, Arizona Republic, The Salt Lake Tribune, Moscow-Pullman Daily News, the Navajo Times, Navajo Nation Today and the Sho-Ban News. Trahant is a citizen of Idaho’s Shoshone-Bannock Tribe and former president of the Native American Journalists Association.
The award will be presented during the 2018 National Native Media Awards Banquet on Saturday, July 21 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Miami. Trahant will be the featured speaker and has chosen to donate the accompanying $500 cash prize back to NAJA to benefit the 2018 Native American Journalism Fellowship.