Indian Country Today

Who starts a national television program during a pandemic? Indian Country Today.

Nearly 15 months ago, the multimedia enterprise saw a need to update Indigenous communities by television on the global crisis that changed every day. It started out as a weekly reporters’ roundtable and evolved into a daily newscast picked up by dozens of television stations nationally and internationally.

ICT’s newscast took first place for general excellence in TV for the 2021 National Native Media Awards, announced the National Native American Journalists Association on Wednesday. The newscast also got second for the best program for “Wash Your Hands – ICT Newscast with Ricardo Cate.”

"We are excited about winning this award because we've come a long way in a very trying year and this award reflects all of our hard work. I'm so proud of our team who really stepped up to produce this weekday newscast,” said Patty Talahongva, Hopi and executive producer. “People know Indian Country Today as a longtime newspaper and now digital news organization and now they will see ICT as a television news broadcast too. As we say in the TV biz, stay tuned for more!"

ICT studio in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by ICT)

The newscast is a visual extension of the digital platform that started out as a newspaper 40 years ago this year and has gone through a few iterations since.

ICT Editor Mark Trahant, Shoshone-Bannock, who has co-hosted the newscast  since January 2021, added, “This whole enterprise is a new, untested idea. So the fact that it's already recognized by our peers is important to us. Thank you NAJA members.”

"The team is honored to receive these awards. We certainly saw a lot of innovation in news gathering during a pandemic," Shirley Sneve, vice president of broadcasting, said.

In all, ICT captured four first place awards. NAJA also recognized ICT in seven other categories for print and online in the professional division: best news story, best feature story, best environmental coverage, best elder coverage, best column, best sports story, and best beat reporting (first, second, third and honorable mention). In the associated category, the Fuller Project with ICT won first place for best coverage of Native America for print and online. (See full list below)

Indian Country Today is independent and owned by IndiJ Public Media. It is based in Phoenix, Arizona with bureaus in Washington D.C. and Alaska.

In October, NAJA will present more than 250 awards in a virtual ceremony. The annual competition recognizes excellence in reporting by Indigenous and non-Indigenous journalists. NAJA received more than 730 entries.

NAJA has three standalone honors, including the NAJA Elias Boudinot Free Press Award, Richard LaCourse Award for Investigative Journalism and NAJA-Medill Milestone Achievement Award. An announcement of the winners will be forthcoming, according to NAJA.

NAJA is a nonprofit organization that seeks to support Native Americans in journalism and increase Native American representation in national media. The organization postponed the 2021 National Native Media Conference in Phoenix to August 25-27, 2022.

ICT Editor Mark Trahant, Shoshone-Bannock, interviewing Hawai'i Rep. Kai Kahele for the newscast. (Photo by ICT)

Professional Divisions II & III – TV

TV – General Excellence

First Place
Mark Trahant, Patty Talahongva, Vincent Schilling, Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, Karen Lincoln Michel, Tomas Karmelo Amaya, Carina Dominguez, Vincent Moniz, Maxwell Montour, and Quindrea Yazzie
Indian Country Today

TV – Best Newscast

Second Place
Mark Trahant, Patty Talahongva, Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, Carina Dominguez, Vincent Moniz, Vincent Schilling and Quindrea Yazzie
Indian Country Today
Wash Your Hands – ICT Newscast with Ricardo Cate

Professional Division III – Print / Online

Print / Online – Excellence in Beat Reporting

First Place
Dalton Walker
Indian Country Today
Birthing center closure coverage

Second Place
Aliyah Chavez
Indian Country Today
Indigenous candidates running for office in a historic 2020 election year

Third Place
Meghan Sullivan
Indian Country Today
Alaska Policy

Honorable Mention
Jourdan Bennett-Begaye
Indian Country Today
COVID-19 in Indian Country

Print / Online – Best News Story

First Place
Dalton Walker
Indian Country Today
Birthing center closure: ‘My baby and I felt abandoned’

Print / Online – Best Feature Story

Third Place
Dalton Walker
Indian Country Today
There’s another story behind that Land O’Lakes butter box

Honorable Mention
Aliyah Chavez
Indian Country Today
96-year-old Navajo woman becomes an internet hit

Print / Online – Best Environmental Coverage

Third Place
Meghan Sullivan
Indian Country Today
Slow, late salmon run hurting fishers

Print / Online – Best Elder Coverage

Third Place
Joaqlin Estus
Indian Country Today
David Katzeek leaves legacy of revitalized language, culture

Honorable Mention
Aliyah Chavez
Indian Country Today
96-year-old Navajo woman becomes an internet hit

Print / Online – Best Column

Honorable Mention
Kolby KickingWoman
Indian Country Today

Professional Divisions II & III – Print / Online

Print / Online – Best Sports Story

Second Place
Dalton Walker
Indian Country Today
Friendship between Ireland, tribes lives on

Associate Division III – Print / Online

Print / Online – Best Coverage of Native America

First Place
Jessica Klein
The Fuller Project with Indian Country Today
They Survived Intimate Partner Violence‚ Now They Can Vote Safely

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