American Indian Media Today

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Through a series of interviews with Native media practitioners and experts, Jodi Rave of the Indigenous Media Freedom Alliance reports on the major trends and challenges for American Indian media today:

  • Like other media sectors, Native print media has had a significant downturn. In 1998, there were some 700 media sources serving Indian Country, today there are about 200 media sources ranging from tribe-owned newspapers to freelancers.
  • Radio is a bright spot for Native media. Radio stations serving American Indian listeners have increased from 30 to 59 during the last 20 years.
  • Prospective Native journalists face challenges in building careers with a dearth of degree programs in journalism at tribal college and universities.
  • Press freedom for tribe-owned media is a key challenge faced by Native American media. Tribal governments remain the largest media owners and control an estimated 72 percent of newspapers and radio stations.

The study also found tribal government ownership of media outlets created conflicts of interest and “unique press freedom challenges” for journalists. Those challenges include a lack of openness and intimidation when covering tribal issues. Collaboration between mainstream newspaper reporters and Native journalists, the creation of fellowships for Native journalists and engagement across communities related to freedom of the press were some of the recommendations offered to strengthen the state of Native American media outlets.

American Indian Media Today Native American Newsrooms Endure Press Suppression, Intimidation (MediaPost)