Society of Professional Journalists and Native American Journalists Association collaboration

To our Native American Journalists Association members,

I wanted to inform you of a panel session titled “World within Worlds” held at the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Conference in Las Vegas, NV earlier this month.  The session was about the issues Native American Journalists face.  The session was organized and moderated by Dr. Becky Tallent, assistant professor at the University of Idaho with panelists: Mr. Tom Arviso, Managing Editor Navajo Times; Bryan Pollard, Editor of the Cherokee Phoenix, Jolene Schonchin, Editor Comanche Nation News; Jeff Harjo, Executive Director of NAJA, and myself, Rhonda LeValdo, President, NAJA.

We were asked various questions from freedom of the press issues to how non-native reporters can gain trust within the Native communities.  I was really impressed with the dialogue and felt a lot of issues were brought up within the hour and a half we were allotted.

Along with this panel session, our NAJA members were invited to talk with the SPJ board about NAJA collaborating with SPJ on issues that affect both organizations.  Much discussion was brought up again in particular with regards to Ethics issues we face just like mainstream journalists.  In light of our talks, the incoming SPJ President Hagit Limor and sitting President Kevin Z. Smith offered SPJ’s services to hold sessions on ethics issues.  We at NAJA gladly accepted their offer and look forward to having their presence at the 2011 NAJA conference.

As we start planning our next conference, I want to remind you that if you have any suggestions for panel sessions, speakers, honorees, please let us know.  We would like to make sure your ideas are included in the discussion for the planning of the 2011 Conference.  Also, if anyone is located in the Ft. Lauderdale area, and would like to volunteer to be on the local planning committee, please get in contact with us.

Rhonda LeValdo
President, Native American Journalists Association


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