Cosper joins NAJA staff, Compton added to NAJA board

NORMAN, Okla. – Sterling Cosper (Muscogee Creek) joined the Native American Journalists Association staff on June 13 as program manager, a new staff position where he will oversee organizational programs to include annual conference planning, awards, and the Native American Journalism Fellowship (NAJF). He resigned his seat on the NAJA board of directors on June 4, prior to accepting the full-time, contract offer to join staff.

Cosper recently served as the manager of Mvskoke Media, the tribal news outlet of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. He started as a reporter for the Muscogee Nation News in 2012 and was promoted to editor the following year. While there, he advocated for the passage of a free press law, but resigned in protest when that law was suddenly repealed by the tribal government. He will continue to advocate for free press protections in Indian Country during his service on the NAJA staff.

Cosper’s departure from the NAJA board opened a seat, and NAJA President Tristan Ahtone has appointed Francine Compton, an Aboriginal Peoples Television Network executive producer, to fill the vacancy. Compton’s appointment was approved by the NAJA board during their June 13 meeting.

Compton is a citizen of Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation. She joined APTN full-time in February 2000 as an assistant director. In 2008 she shifted to the editorial side of APTN’s newsroom and soon found herself in a position to form the networks first investigative unit. She served as a producer and then executive producer of APTN Investigates for nearly 7 years. She is now the Executive Producer of APTN National News for eastern Canada, and APTN’s political show Nation to Nation.

“The NAJA board works to empower Indigenous journalists and support reporters in Indigenous communities across North America,” said Ahtone. “The skillset Sterling brings to the organization is critical at a time when press freedom is under attack while Francine’s experience as a newsroom leader reflects the diverse reporters, newsrooms and communities we work with and support. We welcome their commitment to NAJA’s mission, and look forward to the work ahead of us.” The remaining officers and members will continue to serve the board for the duration of their elected terms.

2018-2019 NAJA Board of Directors

  • Tristan Ahtone (Kiowa), President
  • Dr. Victoria LaPoe (Cherokee), Vice President
  • Jennifer Bell (Citizen Potawatomi Nation), Treasurer
  • Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton (Cherokee), Secretary
  • Shyanne Beatty (Hangwichin Athabascan)
  • Graham Brewer (Cherokee)
  • Francine Compton (Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation)
  • Jacqueline Keeler (Diné / Ihanktonwan Dakota)
  • Ramona Marozas (Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians)

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