The Indigenous Voice Fund (IVF) exists to ensure that Indigenous journalists in all stages of their careers have a dedicated source of funding for professional training and development. The IVF will provide a financial foundation to support eligible NAJA professional members who seek to enhance their professional capacity, seize career expanding opportunities, and broaden their leadership skills and industry impact.
NAJA has more than 700 members in mainstream and Indigenous-owned or tribal media, and their voices can be found on all media platforms, including newspapers, radio, television, online, podcasts, and social media. Their reach extends from the Arctic Circle to the Florida peninsula, often in remote areas where no other source of news is available. They dedicate themselves to covering the many un- or underreported stories of the Indigenous lived experience with accuracy, context, and authenticity.
These Indigenous professionals have a deep commitment and passion for their work, but often do not have the financial means to pursue the professional training and networking opportunities necessary to stay on top of the ever-shifting landscape of today’s media industry. Professional training, skill building workshops, and networking opportunities may go unrealized in an environment where newsroom demands are priority. The IVF will provide an incentive for NAJA members to seek professional training even when personal or newsroom resources may not allow it.
The IVF will be a means for these essential voices to stay energized and capable on their journey to ensure that Indigenous stories and perspectives are included in the broader fabric of society.
According to the News Leaders Association 2019 Diversity Survey, Indigenous journalists represent less than 0.25 percent of daily print and online organizations (a drop from 0.37 in 2018), yet the demand for capable and versatile Indigenous media professionals has never been greater. More and more newsrooms recognize that Indigenous voices are a necessary component of any newsroom seeking to cover the four corners of their community with depth and authenticity.
The fund will provide the financial resources necessary to ensure that Indigenous journalists are adept and nimble, with the professional capacity to seize any storytelling opportunity on any platform and at any media outlet. In conjunction with NAJA’s other support programming including the National Native Media Conference, the Native American Journalism Fellowship, NAJA Facebook Scholarships, and other skills training in collaboration with our partners, the IVF will bolster a growing network of Indigenous journalists to meet industry demand for authentic Indigenous voices.
Upskilling Indigenous leadership
The IVF will ensure that Indigneous journalists are able to upskill and grow into executive management and leadership in the media industry. The near-absence of Indigenous people in senior management across the industry is confounding and unacceptable. The only solution to this glaring opportunity gap is to increase the ability for Indigenous journalists to access the same executive training and management tools available to their non-Indigenous counterparts, and pair that with networking opportunities necessary for career mobility.
The Indigenous Voice Fund will underwrite and facilitate leadership growth opportunities, and create a sustained industry impact by building and expanding the pool of Indigenous journalist talent for generations. The goal of the IVF is to enhance and amplify the Indigenous voice, perspective, and lived experience throughout the media industry.
The Indigenous voice Fund will support and empower NAJA members by increasing access to new training and networking opportunities that were previously unattainable.