NAJA recently launched the Red Press Initiative to study and report on the extent of press freedom in Indian Country. This groundbreaking initiative has been generously funded by the Ford Foundation, and has been joined by other press freedom advocates including the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, the Democracy Fund, the Indigenous Media Freedom Alliance, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and Echo Hawk Consulting.
NAJA believes that the accurate and contextual reporting on Native communities is necessary to overcoming the biases and stereotypes commonly portrayed in popular media. Robust and vigorous tribal media operations must be at the heart of the effort to curb these practices. The Red Press Initiative will research and gather feedback on the extent and vitality of press freedom in Indian Country. The reported findings will provide the basis for the development of trainings, materials, and an educational outreach campaign to enhance and expand press freedom across Indian Country.
NAJA staff announced the project during the membership meeting at the 2018 National Native Media Conference. During and after the meeting, a preliminary survey was conducted among the membership to gather early data on some of the critical questions that the project hopes to address. The early results were revealing:
The project will be conducted in four phases:
Phase I: Recruit advisory committee members. Develop data gathering tools and other research methodologies to achieve designated outcomes. Develop an outreach campaign to reach target respondents to include tribal media employees, tribal officials and citizen audience. Develop source list for documentary film.
Phase II: Implement research and outreach strategy. Begin principle shooting for documentary film.
Phase III: Analyze data and develop conclusions. Develop a report with narrative, data, and graphics to reveal findings, state conclusions, and propose recommendations. Report will include narrative and photographic storytelling coupled with online multimedia content and documentary film.
Phase IV: Develop print and digital educational materials based on the report. Develop an outreach and marketing campaign to disseminate report, online content and educational materials. Assemble a standing Free Press Task Force that will deployed into both tribal settings for free press and technical trainings, and into mainstream news settings for coverage equity and bias awareness trainings.
Please contact project coordinator Bryan Pollard at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in joining this important initiative.