AJ Earl, a 2017 Native American Journalism Fellow, returns again this year to join other up-and-coming journalists in sharing their experience, lessons and passion for the written word in Miami at this year’s NAHJ/NAJA conference.
Starting young, the first article Earl recalled writing was about Japanese educators visiting Hawthorne Elementary School in San Antonio, Texas. The educators came to Texas to get a look at how Hawthorne was implementing open classrooms and Earl was the editor and sole contributor of the school’s 5th grade newspaper.
“My nickname at the time was ‘Little Professor’ because I did a little bit of everything I could in a way that could help classmates, including writing the paper by myself,” Earl said.
“And I was kind of a nerd.”
They’ve written for blogs and newsletters, but it wasn’t until they returned to journalism that they found their voice and a voice for their community.
As a journalist, Earl has emphasized Indigenous views and voices.
“I’m a citizen of the Comanche Nation, so elevating and centering an Indigenous voice and point of view is paramount,” Earl said.
Among Earl’s journalistic works are an article on the push to pass a law creating an Indigenous curriculum in Oregon public schools and a profile on Portland State University’s Native American Student and Community Center. They also write extensively on current goings-on in politics.
Beyond journalism, their work as a history student has included work on a history of the Native American Journalists Association. They have also assisted in drafting a 2015 King County, Washington proclamation declaring a day in memoriam of the expulsion of Indigenous peoples of Seattle.
For Earl, journalism and history are the same thing.
“They’re both storytelling, but with digital ink.”
The Native American Journalists Association strives to empower journalists and voices in Indian Country. Contact us to learn more about our members, access to our expert directory, and/or how to support student fellows like AJ. If you have interest in applying to be a student fellow or a student fellow mentor, updated information is included on NAJA.com.