'Coming home' to Indian Country Today

Indian Country Today

Karen Lincoln Michel named first president of the non-profit news company

Indian Country Today

Indian Country Today will start 2020 with Karen Lincoln Michel taking on the role of president of the non-profit company. Lincoln Michel is Ho-Chunk and is currently the publisher and executive editor of Madison Magazine in Madison, Wisconsin.

"I am excited to be part of a news organization that is innovative and is setting a new standard for news coverage of indigenous communities,” says Lincoln Michel. “Much of my career has been in legacy media, and although I have advocated for fair and accurate coverage of communities of color in each of my roles, I will now have the amazing chance to focus all of my energies on an enterprise that is all about serving Native audiences.”

“It is my hope that Indian Country Today will continue its tremendous growth in 2020 while broadening its reach. As president of Indian Country Today, I see my role as making sure the news organization has the resources it needs to innovate and also sustain itself financially well into the future,” says Lincoln Michel.

She holds a master's degree in journalism from Marquette University and a degree in industrial technology from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. She also attended Arizona State University.

“She’ll be in charge of all the business operations,” says Mark Trahant, editor of Indian Country Today. The company has a 2020 fundraising goal of $2.5 million as it prepares to launch its national newscast.

Trahant says Lincoln Michel has “a range of experience that’s exactly right.” She was a Native American Journalism Association scholarship winner, then started her career as a reporter working her way up to the post of editor, and most recently, publisher.

“Karen cares about the editorial process,” says Trahant, “she has integrity, is thoughtful, and just an extraordinary leader.”

“Karen knows Indian Country, she knows the urban Indian communities and she knows leaders in the news industry, which is important in her role as president,” says Patty Talahongva, executive producer of Indian Country Today. “And she’s a rare journalist who understands the financial side of the news business.”

Like Trahant and Talahongva, Lincoln Michel is a past president of the Native American Journalists Association. In fact, she was the first female president of the association.

“What sets Indian Country Today apart from other news outlets is that Native journalists are writing and editing the stories about Native peoples and their issues. The stories give readers the proper context and are told by journalists who understand the complexities of tribal societies,” says Lincon Michel. “It’s the kind of content that our people want and that no mainstream news organization has consistently attempted to provide.

“I am inspired by what Indian Country Today has accomplished and I am looking forward to working with longtime friends and people whose work I admire and respect. It feels like I am coming home.”

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