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WaPo Editor Denny McAuliffe Gets 2015 NAJA-Medill Milestone Achievement Award

The Native American Journalists Association announced that Denny McAuliffe will be the recipient of the 2015 NAJA-Medill Milestone Achievement Award.
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Gearing up for its 2015 Native Media Awards presentation at its annual conference on July 11, the Native American Journalists Association announced that Denny McAuliffe will be the recipient of the 2015 NAJA-Medill Milestone Achievement Award.

The award “exemplifies NAJA’s mission by honoring journalists who have filled leadership roles and impacted media in Indian country and beyond,” according to the NAJA press release.

McAuliffe was nominated by NAJA President Mary Hudetz, who cited examples of McAuliffe’s impact on Native journalism that played a significant part in shaping many Native students’ careers. “It's hard to capture the full scope of his impact during his decade at UM, where he started Reznet and operated it as a vibrant website filled with student voices… The American Indian Journalism Institute launched dozens of careers in media. Portions of NAJA's current NAJF are now modeled after AIJI,” Hudetz said in her nomination letter.

McAuliffe, Osage, has been an editor with The Washington Post for more than 20 years. He served mostly as the Foreign Desk editor from 1983 to 1999, where he proudly worked with the legendary Ben Bradlee. His second stint, over the past five years, has been as night editor for the financial news section.

“I am humbled to be chosen for this honor, and grateful to the board of directors of the Native American Journalists Association for selecting me over what I'm sure were far more qualified nominees,” McAuliffe stated in his acceptance letter.

The award is supported by a partnership between NAJA and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and for the second year in a row as given a $5,000 prize to the winner.

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When McAuliffe left The Post in 1999, he was supposed to be gone just a year. He left to run a Native American journalism program at the University of Montana School of Journalism in Missoula. The year turned into more than a decade, during which he created and directed a training and mentoring website called Reznet for Native college students. Many of the students who participated were attending tribal and other colleges that lacked journalism courses or even school papers.

Reznet got funding from five foundations, thanks to McAuliffe.

Reznet reporters earned a small wage for their stories, photos and videos. But the big payout was in the “clips” the website helped them acquire. Those were needed to secure paid internships. Those “clips” and internships helped build resumes and cover letters that were thoroughly vetted through Bill Elsen, a retired Post recruiter, and just one of several professional editors and mentors hired to work with Reznet.

“For his work on Reznet, Denny was awarded the 2005 Barry Bingham Sr. Fellowship from the National Conference of Editorial Writers, presented annually to a journalism educator committed to preparing minority students for successful careers in journalism,” according to the release.

“I tell them that journalists don’t do solutions; we tell the truth about problems and issues that need to be told,” McAuliffe said in a 2007 interview posted at diverseeducation.com about the reznet program.

Other accomplishments McAuliffe saw included being a member of the first Osage News advisory board to help shield the tribal newspaper from political interference; a 1995 Oklahoma Book Award for Non-Fiction for “The Deaths of Sybil Bolton: An American History.”

McAuliffe is a United States Army veteran who served in West Berlin, where he earned his bachelor’s degree at an on-base branch of the University of Maryland.