Indian Country Today Media Network To Cease Active Operations

On September 4, 2017, Indian Country Today Media Network announces operational hiatus to explore new business model

Editor’s Note: As of  September 4, 2017, Indian Country Today Media Network, publisher of Indian Country magazine and IndianCountryMediaNetwork.com, is taking a hiatus to consider alternative business models. The staff of ICTMN has been honored to serve the best audience they could have possibly imagined, and direct all attention to the following letter from publisher Ray Halbritter. During the hiatus, new posts, new magazines and new books will not appear on the site and email newsletters will not be sent while we consider a new way forward. The site will remain accessible and maintained in its current form through January 31, 2018. Paid subscribers with active, unfulfilled portions of their subscriptions will be reimbursed automatically. (Details can be found here for magazines and here for books.) All purchased book and magazine entitlements will be honored through that time: Paid subscribers will continue to have access to material behind the paywall.

 Shekóli. More than six years ago, the Oneida Indian Nation decided to develop Indian Country Today Media Network from its core property, the then-weekly newspaper Indian Country Today, with a singular goal in mind: We wanted to generate award-winning journalism that gives voice to Indigenous Peoples, wherever they lived, to the widest possible audience. That investment has succeeded beyond our expectations.

Over the last few years, ICTMN has aggressively covered the critical issues facing Indian Country—and has done so in ways that have empowered Natives to tell our unique stories from our perspective. We reported extensively on challenges to the Indian Child Welfare Act with a series of stories spanning several high-profile cases; produced human-interest stories and analysis of the latest studies regarding Intergenerational Trauma; corrected the historical record by presenting authentic, proven Native traditions about events and people, such as Pocahontas; celebrated the cultural achievements of Native artists, thinkers, actors and musicians; continued Indian Country Today’s groundbreaking coverage (now spanning decades) on murdered and missing Indigenous women; and worked tirelessly to report directly from the field in Standing Rock on the opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. We conducted a Q&A with President Barack Obama during the 2012 presidential campaign, and later published editorials by him.

In these and so many other stories, ICTMN surfaced critical information and focused a spotlight on the debates and initiatives that affect Indian Country—but that are too often ignored or misrepresented by other media outlets. For that effort, ICTMN has won prestigious awards—30 alone in 2017 from the Native American Journalists Association; multiple Clarion Awards; and individual awards and grants to contributors from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Herb Block prize for cartooning, USC’s Annenberg Center and the Playboy Foundation. In any given year, we served stories to millions of readers from or interested in Indian country. Judged by audience size and appetite alone, ICTMN fulfilled a need with an approach and perspective that clearly works.

For all of that success, however, ICTMN has faced the same challenges that other media outlets have faced. It is no secret that with the rise of the Internet, traditional publishing outlets have faced unprecedented adversity. These economic headwinds have resulted in ICTMN operating at an enormous—and unsustainable—financial loss, and now have caused us to take a hiatus to explore new partnerships or economic strategies for ICTMN.

To be sure, ICTMN did not rest on its laurels in the face of those difficulties—the newsroom’s leaders addressed them head on. The organization, for example, transitioned from a weekly newspaper in 2011 to a weekly magazine to an online platform with a bimonthly magazine, building a stellar website and expanding its distribution. It also published more frequently, to keep up with the accelerated pace of the online media marketplace. That work sustained the publication for years, even as the headwinds intensified.

As ICTMN now halts its operations to explore alternative business models or partnerships, we know for certain that all of our past work has created an enduring legacy. The organization has served as a model of empowerment journalism, showing that unique and distinct communities of color require equally unique and distinct media coverage. ICTMN’s reporting has also helped shape political debates and policy decisions around our community’s priorities—and that will have an enduring impact on those debates and decisions in the coming years.

Just as important, we hope ICTMN has inspired communities throughout Indian Country to work together to invest in journalism and media. We know that when we leave our stories to be told only by other media outlets, those stories too often go untold—or get distorted. ICTMN proved that we do not have to sit idly by while that happens.

In short, no matter what happens in the coming months, we know we have already proven the value and necessity of journalism that respects and honors Native nations throughout the world. To do it, we relied on the best writers and correspondents in Indian Country, and were supported by dedicated sources, a committed advertising community, and passionate readers. And for that, we give thanks to all.

NΛ ki’ wa,

Ray Halbritter

  • Leviness J.

    Sounds like a very wise and sound way to go. I hope it’s within the stars that you all evolve into the vision and aim in ways that are sustainable. We need you! Peace, Love and Evolution

  • Kenneth S.

    I just have a question for INDIAN COUNTRY. We as Indian descent, is this “CEASE OPERATIONAL” due to OUTSIDE PRESSURE as to GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS or is it really due to other issues. I believe we can remember “THE TRAIL OF TEARS” and what this meant to future generations. The songs and personnel stories told to us by our ancestors / forefathers what the GOVERNMENT really wanted to do was rid “THE INDIAN NATION” PERIOD. Look around and see for yourself what’s happening now. The GOVERNMENT THEN gave our ancestors the reservations and the GOVERNMENT NOW sees that “THEY THE GOVERNMENT THEN” was a HUGE MISTAKE. So with that in their minds, how do “they” break the “THEN GOVERNMENT LAWS”. Simple CHANGE THE LAW to benefit “THE GOVERNMENT NOW” . In my final thoughts this is truly a “SAD TIME FOR US, THAT ARE DERIVED BY INDIAN BLOOD”. It’s sad as we stand AGAINST ANNIHILATION OF PEOPLE OF THEIR NATIONS, WHETHER IT BE HERE IN OUR HOMELAND OR ACROSS THE GLOBE, AND LETS NOT FORGET THE “LAW WHEN IT WAS DATED AND IMPLEMENTED.

  • Barbara H.

    i read this first with sadness, then with gratitude for all your publishing has given…lastly i felt hope for a new creation of a financially feasible indian country today will rise from this time of reflection. chi meegwich from a long time follower and subscriber.

  • You have done a wonderful thing with this publication, in fact you are my favorite news outlet as well as ( as a white guy) getting the tribal perspective on everything. I hope you can find a way to publish again soon.

  • This publication has given me such a wonderful insight into native culture from tribal perspective and has allowed me to reflect, challenge, and change views I needed to change. When we of different cultures know more, we do better in interacting in a better way. I hope to see you back.

  • Very sorry to see this—will miss ICMN & Indian Country magazine. I hope to see you resume operations before too long!

  • I am so grateful you have managed for so long, your content has been precious to me. I was pleased to see, just the other day, a story in The Guardian that specified it was produced with ICTMN. I have appreciated your news as well as opinion pieces. I look forward to your next incarnation. Please do not give up your voice.

  • Steven R.

    As a publisher myself, albeit a micro-sized one in comparison of 23 years, we’re at similar crossroads. It doesn’t make financial sense to continue despite lament from your subscribers that you may have to quit. The passion that had fueled your origination still lingers; you know you’ve touched hearts and minds, that you’ve done your best, but nothing lasts forever.
    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Indian Country Today; I’ve shared it with alike minded folks on a weekly basis to offer them knowledge of Native culture, past and present, just as I’ve been ‘enlightened’ as a ‘Euro-American’ student of North American history. Only last week, I encouraged our local library to subscribe to Indian Country Magazine: “I have gleaned a tremendous amount of cultural information from it, as I think other Roseau County residents and library visitors would as well. It’s an excellent contemporary Native American news source and cultural guide. Having this magazine in the library for readers to peruse would heighten everyone’s knowledge and awareness about the Native people that have been forever in our midst.”
    Thank you for a truly great offering. I’ll miss it.
    Steven Reynolds

  • Marcia D.

    ah god…don’t go…without your coverage I have no IDEA of the reality of the world from one of the most sane and impartial and accurate news outlets in existence. I am an elder white woman. I spread your truths to my peers…without which they remain in woeful ignorance. Please contact me, as I have some few connections in the funding world that may be of use.
    Marcia Diane

  • Jeannette A.

    I work for an agency that funds Tribal colleges and universities, as we seek to improve our understanding and deepen our relationships with communities in Indian Country. In my view, Indian Country Today has provided invaluable insights for us in an effective manner with high journalistic standards. Thank you for everything you have done, and all warm heartfelt wishes for your success in designing a meaningful future for the organization.

  • It saddens my heart and spirit to lose your knowledge, wisdom, and incite into tribal affairs. I wish you fair journey in future endeavors. Tiospaye wakan tanka.

  • Carol J A.

    While I am not a Native American, I am a cultural anthropologist and writer who has enjoyed the insights you have provided on native issues. I looked forward to receiving your magazine and the reports that you have published and am so sorry to see that this change is taking place. I can only hope that you will be able to continue in an online format in which the costs will be much lower.

  • I’m sad to hear this and truly hope you can find a new business model. As a tribal member who has never lived on a reservation, I found that ICT was a wonderful source for unfiltered news about Native activities. I also greatly enjoyed the guest editorials, even if I couldn’t agree with some of the writers’ attitudes. ICT was excellent. I hope in the future I can once again say ICT IS excellent.

  • Powers J.

    You have provided such a necessary source of connection for so many of us. Elders like my Mom have been so grateful for your printed magazine as well. I hope that after your operational hiatus, you come back in the best way for you. You’ll be sorely missed until then.

  • Reader L.

    Thanks to all who worked with competence and dedication for your publications .
    Without fairly paid good reporters were all much worse off , ignorance of political and cultural doings crippling to a healthy society .
    My best to all , and hopefully folks will realize what’s happening and not look to get everything free .
    Jake Smith

  • Richard L.

    As with all things, if what is meant to be, there is nothing that can keep it from existence. Nothing.
    Patience will be, as always virtuous. Looking forward to what will be inevitably a just outcome.
    Much has been enjoyed, learned and inspired from this publication. A lifetimes worth already. For this, no words can say enough.

  • Campbell M.

    This is terrible news, at a terrible time. We need you more than ever with this frightening new “government” and its license to hate and destroy. Please, please–rise again! You are so important.

  • Judith P.

    I sincerely hope that you are able to pursue an Indian Country news outlet. I consider your reporting to be on a par with the top news organizations in the country, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, the Atlantic and other professional publications in the top echelons of journalism in the nation. As a non-native person with a lifelong interest in the Indigenous people of this country, I find Indian Country Today to be the best way to learn about the issues facing native people, something I consider of the highest importance in my life. The best of luck in your venture, and I hope to hear from you again before too long.

  • Kathryn W.

    I was formulating a rave review on your excellent magazine when I learned the very bad news. The photography is outstanding, the highlights are uplifting and forward thinking. This mag is so superior to any Native publications I’ve read, whether by or about indigenous people. Please let us know when and how we can contribute and in any way keep this afloat!! Yootwa from Karuk country, NorCal.

  • Thank you for years of service to the wider community. I am not sure who or what can replace this source that combines reporting on so many facets of Original Nations and Peoples. I am saddened by the loss of this resource. I hope you find a way to return or find other sources to fill the void that you leave behind.

  • michelegriffith445@yahoo.com

    Wow sorry to hear that you will cease operations for now. I really enjoyed reading the news article as it pertained to Indians. Hope to see the magazine back up and running soon . From the Comanche Nation. Peace.

  • Stephanie J.

    Years ago I dreamed of a news outlet that provided impartial and relevant news that included Native Americans. I would never hear of Native American issues or successes on TV and still don’t. I dreamed of radio stations that speak our traditional languages, films that accurately portray the abuses against Native Americans, Native American music played on TV and radio stations, Native American commercials, Native American politicians interviewed by major news networks, Native Americans in sports (They never mention Jim Thorpe during the summer Olympic Games-the greatest athlete ever), Native Americans among the ethnic mix in shows and commercials and a renaissance of Native American cuisine. Your paper and magazine are all that we have. The other areas are just making a start. I pray to the creator you come back to us. We need you more now than ever. My concern is you are being threatened by the owners of main stream media. Be careful when looking at future partners.

  • Is there any way that we as the readers can help. It is too sad to not have this document to read every week. It is the best news outlet that lets us know the rest of the story and to become knowledgable about others tribes and nations. If we all come together, it seems like we can help continue Indian Country Today. Thank you

  • Eileen M.

    The best to the extended Native community you each engaged and enlightened us all. As the mom of a Alaskan Native son and his young relatives who benefited from what we all learned from your print and online versions, this is sad news. Son just entered college this year and you helped raise him as you were a large resource to us! Grateful friend.

  • As a non-native, I have worked for almost 30 years as a free-lance writer and independent radio producer on Native issues. I understand the challenges and the importance of your mission. Indian Country Today has always been a trusted source, and I have always looked forward to learning more from you. Personally, because of the plethora of news on a daily basis, and time being stretched so thin, I have narrowed my time to follow only public radio and a few online national news sources, yours ranking in the top three. I don’t own or watch a television. I admit to liking the weekly ICMN report more than the daily online report. I have shared your free reports with others who know little of Native history but want to learn more. Your coverage of Standing Rock was essential. The magazine is nice, but I still prefer the weekly online update best. I thought I’d share my thoughts with you as a reader. You have done amazing work, and if I had money, I’d send it your way! My prayers are that you will find a way forward and return soon to all of us. Thank you for your passionate mission!

  • Coming in late, but just wanted to say thank you for being a voice for the Native American community and a source of education for me (a non-Native). I do indeed hope you folks will find another path forward. Your perspectives are sorely needed.

  • Erik S.

    Saddened to hear this, but I’m hoping that you all can find ways to keep and multiply your voices–given the shifting paradigms of publishing, there must be other ways to do this sustainably. Or perhaps the demands of capital will wane and money be no longer the gatekeeper of stories for large audiences? A radicalized descendant of settler culture can dream, I suppose, but everyone on the continent needs to hear what you have to say, whether they realize it or not. I will keep a lookout for your next incarnation. May it arise soon and be more powerful than ever.

  • I am very disheartened to hear of this. An excellent job was done in all aspects! I have always found great peace and wisdom in the American Indian ways. It was a blessing to have been had so many things shared with me in the few issues of Indian Country. I pray for the best outcome of this time away. Hoping not to sound too naive, is there anything that we can do to help?

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Indian Country Today Media Network To Cease Active Operations

URL: https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/native-news/indian-country-today-media-network-cease-active-operations/