High Country News earns seven National Native Media Awards


June 15, 2018

High Country News’ writers received six first-place awards and one third-place award for its coverage of tribal affairs for the Native American Journalists Association 2018 National Native Media Awards on June 12, 2018.

The Native American Journalists Association works to serve and empower Native journalists through programs and actions designed to enrich journalism and promote Native cultures. Each year, NAJA recognizes members’ coverage of Indian Country at the National Native Media Awards.

High Country News earned awards in both the professional and associate categories for publications with a circulation of 10,000 readers or more.

In the Professional Division III category, HCN writers were awarded the following:

Debra Utacia Krol was awarded first place print/online for best elder coverage for her story, “Paiute Tribe elders navigate a faltering health care system,” and third place in the online – best news story category for “Northern California tribes face down massive wildfires.”

Kim Baca received first place in the print – best news story category for “The Navajo Nation has a wild horse problem.”

Julian Brave NoiseCat was awarded a first place in the print/online – best column category for “Take down monuments to Native American oppression.”

Jacqueline Keeler received first place for her story “Trump’s message for tribes: Let them eat yellowcake” in the print/online – best environmental coverage category.

In the Associate Division III category, HCN writers were awarded the following:

Anna V. Smith, an assistant editor for High Country News, was awarded first place for best coverage of Native America in the print/online category.

Julia O’Malley received first place in the print/online – best feature story for “The Teenage Whaler’s Tale.” This story also won the 2018 James Beard Foundation Journalism Award in the Foodways category.

HCN created a tribal affairs desk in summer 2017, not only because Indian Country is an integral part of the West but also because of the dearth of reporting on the topic. The magazine has tasked its reporters and editors to expand our coverage of tribes in the West with a focus on fairly and accurately portraying Indigenous lives.

“Over the past year, High Country News has put a lot of effort into three-dimensional coverage of Indigenous issues, and it’s great to have those efforts recognized by the Native American Journalists Association,” HCN Editor-in-Chief Brian Calvert said. “As the only non-Native news outlet in the country with dedicated resources and Indigenous staff focused on covering Indigenous communities, I hope High Country News will serve as a model for other media outlets. I also hope this recognition of our work will encourage more Indigenous writers to pitch us deep, nuanced stories from their communities.”

For almost 50 years now, High Country News has reported the stories of the American West that are often overlooked by larger media outlets. The nonprofit news organization has won numerous awards over the years, including the Utne Media Award, the George Polk Award, the Science in Society Award, the Society of Environmental Journalists Award, and many others.

For more information about High Country News, contact Editor-in-Chief Brian Calvert at [email protected].


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