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Mark Trahant
Indian Country Today

This week marks my third anniversary at ICT. Really. (And it’s also the third year since the National Congress of American Indians took ownership of what was then called, ICTMN, on Feb. 1, 2018.)

This is what I said at the time:

“Indian Country needs a national digital platform for this generation that builds on the good work done by so many who created and published Indian Country Today in its previous lives. I look forward to recruiting and working with talented journalists who will create an innovative news organization.”

“The first tribal editor, Elias Boudinot, described his paper as a ‘vehicle of Indian intelligence.’ Even though ink has been replaced by pixels, the task remains the same – to publish an informative daily account that’s comprehensive and adds context to the stories missing from the mainstream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 ... 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.”

So much of that has come to pass. And the credit really goes to the remarkable team that produces Indian Country Today as a daily digital newspaper (there, I said it) and as a daily 30-minute broadcast.

So much of what’s happened has exceeded all of our expectations — from a readership base that tops 500,000 people a month to a growing list of public television stations that carry our news program.

When I look back at these three years, it’s stunning how fast it has all happened. We never thought we’d grow this rapidly or that we would be doing broadcasting (an idea that only surfaced after the 2018 elections.)

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Another surprise is how much credibility and respect we have found from partners such as Arizona PBS, The Associated Press, as well as all of those people, tribes and institutions who support our work financially. Our budget has grown significantly — and that requires raising a lot of money every year.

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But the thing is we have a chance to change the narrative about Indigenous people in this country. Because stories and interviews that would never make the nightly news on any other broadcast are on our pages and on our news program every night.

We have more changes ahead. On Thursday morning our digital product will go through its first redesign in three years. Our goal is to make it easier for everyone to read. Two-thirds of our readership is on a mobile phone or tablet. So we need to make sure that our content is easy to read.

Another change ahead is for the broadcast. We have a plan to move back into a studio at the Arizona PBS and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Our goal here is a set that looks like home — one that reflects our mission telling stories from Indigenous people and communities.

We are planning our first studio broadcast on March 15. Exciting!

Another change is that Arizona PBS will formally be our “presenting station.” This will be a beacon for other PBS stations as they look to add Indian Country Today to their schedules.

A lot has happened in three years. It’s going to be fun working to make the next three years even better.

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Mark Trahant, Shoshone-Bannock, is editor of Indian Country Today. On Twitter: @TrahantReports Trahant is based in Phoenix. 

Indian Country Today is a nonprofit news organization. Will you support our work? All of our content is free. There are no subscriptions or costs. And we have hired more Native journalists in the past year than any news organization ─ and with your help we will continue to grow and create career paths for our people.