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NAJA Announces 2015 Award Winners; ICTMN Gets 26 Honors

The Native American Journalists Association will honor more than 250 members for their coverage of Indian country during the 2015 NAJA Media Awards banquet on July 11. ICTMN earned 26 awards this year, with the biggest honor going to Suzette Brewer, who was given the 2015 Richard LaCourse/Gannett Foundation Al Neuharth Investigative Journalism Award.

Brewer, who specializes in federal Indian law and social justice issues, spent most of 2014 extensively covering Indian Child Welfare Act cases from Oklahoma to California, Alaska to South Dakota. The Cherokee Nation member led the way for ICTMN awardees in the Professional category (Native) for Division III of online content (daily/weekly). She earned a first-place award for Excellence in Beat Reporting and a second-place in Best Feature Story, both for her ICWA coverage.

ICTMN and Publisher Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation representative and CEO of Nation Enterprises, parent company of Indian Country Today Media Network, also took top honors for Best Digital Publication for its weekly newsletter This Week From Indian Country Today; and for General Excellence. Halbritter will introduce Amanda Blackhorse as the keynote speaker at the awards ceremony; he’ll also receive an individual award in the Best Editorial category for his Publisher’s Letter, which placed third.

D.C. Bureau Chief Rob Capriccioso earned a second-place nod in Excellence in Beat Reporting for his coverage, with Nick Estes and Melanie K. Yazzie receiving the third-place award for their Border Town series.

Dina Gilio-Whitaker received two third-place awards, for Best Sports Story and Best Column.

Other first-place honors for ICTMN correspondents went to Amanda Blackhorse for Best Column; Keith Brave Heart for Best Feature Photo; and Amy Morris for Best Sports Photo.

Opinion Editor Ray Cook received a second-place award for Best Editorial, Jonnie Tate Walker earned a second-place honor for Best Column, and Kenny Frost took second for Best Sports Photo.

Adrian Jawort earned a third-place honor for Best News Story.

In the Associates division (non-Native), 10 awards were given out, with ICTMN earning nine, led by Stephanie Woodard, who received four awards. She earned first- and second-place honors for Best Coverage of Native Americans; and third-place honors for Best News Story. Woodard also took third place honors in the Best Feature Story category for a piece in Bill Moyers.com.

Alysa Landry took first and second honors for Best News Story; Gale Courey Toensing earned the lone award for Best Environmental Story and a second-place honor for Best Feature Story.

Richard Walker earned a first-place award for Best Feature Story, and Tanya H. Lee completed the awards for ICTMN with a third-place win for Best Coverage of Native Americans.

The Professional Division I Print was led by The Eastern Door which earned 11 awards, with Steve Bonspiel receiving seven of them. Sho-Ban News earned seven awards.

Cheyenne Arapaho TV took four awards in the Professional Division II TV category; with Mvskoke Radio earning three in Division II Radio.

Osage News led the way in Professional Division II Print awards earning 15 honors. Shannon Shaw Duty earned six awards for the publication. Osage News also earned two awards in the Professional Division II Online category.

FNX and Cherokee Phoenix earned two awards each in Professional Division III TV. Native American Calling and KNBA – Koahnic Broadcasting both had three in Radio.

The Navajo Times was the big winner in the Professional Division III Print categories pulling in 26 awards. Donovan Quintero led the way for the newspaper with 10 awards. The Navajo Times also earned Best Layout and General Excellence honors.

Other honors announced included the 2015 NAJA Medill Milestone Achievement Award to Dennis McAuliffe Jr., an editor at The Washington Post for more than 20 years; and the 2015 NAJA Free Press Award won by the staff of The Playwickian; Gillian McGold, editor and Tara Huber, advisor.

The following are the complete Professional Division III award winners and Associate Division III winners:

Professional Division III – TV

Best Feature Story

1st Place – Terria Smith/Frank Blanquet, “FNX NOW: Avelleka Sexual Assault Awareness Walk” – FNX, First Nations Experience

2nd Place – Terria Smith/Frank Blanquet, “FNX NOW: Yaamava’” – FNX, First Nations Experience

3rd Place – Roger Graham, “Morel mushrooms a spring treat for many” – The Cherokee Phoenix

Best News Story

Stacie Guthrie, “’Remember the Removal’ riders return home” – The Cherokee Phoenix

General Excellence

Jack Kohler – On Native Ground

Professional Division III – Radio

Best Feature Story

1st Place – Tara Gatewood, “A Tribute to Native Comedic Great Charlie Hill” – Native American Calling

2nd Place – Tristan Ahtone, “Those In the Obamacare ‘Affordability Gap’ Risk Futures in Medical Debt” – Fronteras Desk

3rd Place – Joaqlin Estus, “Dance group revives tradition” – KNBA 90.3 – Koahnic Broadcast Corp.

Best News Story

1st Place – Tara Gatewood, “Adoption of Native Children” – Native America Calling

2nd Place – Joaqlin Estus, “Will Alaska Natives decide the U.S. Senate majority?” – KNBA 90.3 – Koahnic Broadcast Corp.

3rd Place – Joaqlin Estus, “Long walk for subsistence rights honors Katie John” – KNBA 90.3 – Koahnic Broadcast Corp.

General Excellence

1st Place – Tara Gatewood – Native America Calling

2nd Place – Antonia Gonzalez – Alaska’s Native Voice, Koahnic Broadcast Corp.

3rd Place – Antonia Gonzalez – Nation Native News, Koahnic Broadcast Corp.

Excellence in Beat Reporting

Antonia Gonzalez, Election coverage – Nation Native News, Koahnic Broadcast Corp.

Professional Division III – Print (daily, weekly, monthly, and semimonthly – combined categories)

Best Environmental Story

1st Place – Krista Allen, “Monumental Problems” – Navajo Times

2nd Place – Alastair Bitsoi, “A Comfort Zone” – Navajo Times

3rd Place – Brandon Frye, “Blue Thumb teaches youth to protect natural resources” – Biskinik

Best News Photo

1st Place – Zach Maxwell, “Remembering in Numbers, Walking as One” – Biskinik

2nd Place – Donovan Quintero, “Meth Bust” – Navajo Times

3rd Place – Donovan Quintero, “Welcome Home” – Navajo Times

Best Sports Photo

1st Place – Zach Maxwell, “Youth stickball league wraps up inaugural season” – Biskinik

2nd Place – Donovan Quintero, “3-point” – Navajo Times

3rd Place – Donovan Quintero, “Schimmel Shake” – Navajo Times

Print (monthly and semimonthly)

Best Feature Story

1st Place – Jonnie Tate Walker, “Music as Medicine: Life and Lyrics of Frank Waln” – Native Peoples Magazine

2nd Place – Tara Gatewood, “Shifting Views with Drunktown’s Finest” – Native Peoples Magazine

3rd Place – Jami Murphy, Tesina Jackson and Will Chavez, “June 22, 1839: a bloody day in Cherokee Nation” – The Cherokee Phoenix

Best Feature Photo

1st Place – Donovan Quintero, “Sheep Shearing” – Navajo Times

2nd Place – Donovan Quintero, “Grandma Kids Dance” – Navajo Times

3rd Place – Donovan Quintero, “Navajo Kids” – Navajo Times

Best News Story

1st Place – Stacie Guthrie, “Chief’s pigeon shoot attendance sparks controversy” – The Cherokee Phoenix

2nd Place – Jamie Murphy, “Tribe to reduce Cherokee Language Program Funding” – The Cherokee Phoenix

3rd Place – Tesina Jackson, “Phoot IDs increase while citizenship processing decreases” – The Cherokee Phoenix

Best Layout

1st Place – Biskinik

2nd Place – Hownikan

3rd Place – The Cherokee Phoenix

General Excellence

1st Place – The Cherokee Phoenix

2nd Place – Hownikan

3rd Place – Biskinik

Excellence in Beat Reporting

1st Place – Tesina Jackson, “Gaming” – The Cherokee Phoenix

2nd Place – Jonnie Tate Walker, “Native Artists” – Native Peoples Magazine

Print (daily and weekly)

Best Sports Story

1st Place – Sunnie Clahchischiligi, “Ramah volleyball adds state banner after nine years” – Navajo Times

2nd Place – Sunnie Clahchischiligi, “Thomas overcomes shyness to become state champ” – Navajo Times

3rd Place – Oree Foster, “Hall of Fame – Spencer” – Navajo Times

Best Environmental Story

1st Place – Alastair Lee Bitsoi, “A Comfot Zone” – Navajo Times

2nd Place – Brandon Fry, “Blue Thumb teaches youth to protect natural resources” – Biskinik

3rd Place – Krista Allen, “Monumental problems” – Navajo Times

Best Feature Photo

1st Place – Donovan Quintero, “Grandma Kids Dance” – Navajo Times

2nd Place – Donovan Quintero, “Sheep Shearing” – Navajo Times

3rd Place – Donovan Quintero, Navajo Kids” – Navajo Times

Best Feature Story

1st Place – Shondiin Silversmith, “Toyei” – Navajo Times

2nd Place – Richard Peterson, “A Treasured Tradition” – Great Falls Tribune

3rd Place – Krista Allen, “Dawn of the Rez Zombie” – Navajo Times

Best Column

1st Place – Travis Snell, “Equality Should Prevail” – The Cherokee Phoenix

2nd Place – Tom Arviso Jr., “The Coach of Life” – Navajo Times

3rd Place – Duane A. Beyal, “On the Freeway, a Merger of Minds” – Navajo Times

Best News Story

1st Place – Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton, “City moving to collect sales tax from tribally owned retailers” – Native American Times

2nd Place – Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton, “Break-ins inflame Caddo Nation leadership dispute” – Native American Times

3rd Place – Alastair Lee Bitsoi, “Medicine People” – Navajo Times

Best Layout – Navajo Times

General Excellence – Navajo Times

Excellence in Beat Reporting

1st Place – Graham Lee Brewer, “Criminal Justice/Prison Beat Reporting” – The Oklahoman

2nd Place – Alastair Lee Bitsoi, “Assayi Lake Fire” Navajo Times

3rd Place – Shondiin Silversmith, “Arts and Entertainment” Navajo Times

Online (monthly and semimonthly)

Best Editorial

1st Place – Baxter Holmes, “A ‘Redskin’ is the Scalped head of a Native American, Sold, Like a Pelt, for Cash” – Esquire Magazine

2nd Place – Bryan Pollard, “AG Ignores Authority of Independent Press Act” – The Cherokee Phoenix

3rd Place – Zachary Pullin, “Two Spirit: The Story of Movement Unfolds” – Native Peoples Magazine

Online (daily and weekly)

Best Feature Photo

1st Place – Keith Brave Heart, “Horse Regalia (Image 1)” – Indian Country Today Media Network

2nd Place – Tate Walker, “Scatter Their Own; Coming Into Their Own” – Native Peoples Magazine

Best Feature Story

1st Place – Tristan Ahtone, “Radio On the Reservation” – Al Jazeera America

2nd Place – Suzette Brewer, “Swept Away: South Dakota’s Native Children Denied Due Process in Custody Cases” – Indian Country Today Media Network

3rd Place – Mary Hudetz, “Why Native American Women Have Been Leaders in the Fight Against Team Mascots” – The Washington Post

Best Sports Photo

1st Place – Amy Morris, “Showtime Shoni (Image 7)” – Indian Country Today Media Network

2nd Place – Kenny Frost, “Iroquois Nationals v. Japan/ Lyle Thompson on the Offensive (Image 9)” – Indian Country Today Media Network

Best Sports Story

1st Place – Tristan Ahtone, “Native American basketball players show who’s got game” – Al Jazeera America

2nd Place – Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton, “WNBA star takes time out for kids in Oklahoma” – Native American Times

3rd Place – Dina Gilio-Whitaker, “Surfing as Sovereignty: How Native Hawaiians Resisted Colonialism” – Indian Country Today Media Network

Best Editorial

1st Place – Tristan Ahtone, “Seattle Swaps Columbus Day for ‘Indigenous Peoples Day’” – NPR

2nd Place – Ray Cook, “Redskins Trademark Decision Means Phips Bounty Hunt Is Almost Over” – Indian Country Today Media Network

3rd Place – Ray Halbritter, “Oct. 29 Letter from the Publisher” ” – Indian Country Today Media Network

Best Column

1st Place – Amanda Blackhorse, “Blackhorse: The Hate Mail I Receive Is Hostile, Aggressive, Racist and Sexist” – Indian Country Today Media Network

2nd Place – Jonnie Tate Walker, “Life or Death: Heat Is a Necessity, Not a Luxury”– Indian Country Today Media Network

3rd Place – Dina Gilio-Whitaker, “The Ugliness of Indian-on-Indian Racism” – Indian Country Today Media Network

Best News Story

1st Place – Mary Hudetz, “Last of the Crow war chiefs turns 101 in Montana” – Al Jazeera America

2nd Place – Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton, “Fraud case testimony reveals violation of tribe’s ethics law” – Native American Times

3rd Place – Adrian Jawort, “Blackfeet Political Gridlock: No Electricity & No Heat for Many” – Indian Country Today Media Network

Excellence in Beat Reporting

1st Place – Suzette Brewer, “Fighting Against ICWA” – Indian Country Today Media Network

2nd Place – Rob Capriccioso, “Washington, D.C.” – Indian Country Today Media Network

3rd Place – Nick Estes and Melanie K. Yazzie, “Border Towns and Racism” – Indian Country Today Media Network

General ExcellenceIndian Country Today Media Network

Best Digital Publication

1st Place – Indian Country Today Media Network

2nd Place – Hownikan, Citizen Potawatomi Nation

2015 NAJA Free Press AwardThe Playwickian staff; Gillian McGold, Editor and Tara Huber, Advisor

2015 NAJA Richard LaCourse/Gannett Foundation Al Neuharth Investigative Journalism Award – Suzette Brewer, “Swept Away – Battle for Native Children in South Dakota” – Indian Country Today Media Network

2015 NAJA Medill Milestone Achievement Award – Dennis McAuliffe Jr., The Washington Post

Associate Category (non-Native) Division III – Online

Best Environmental Story

1st Place – Gale Courey Toensing, “San Carlos Apache Leader Seeks Senate Defeat of Copper Mine on Sacred Land” – Indian Country Today Media Network

Best Feature Story

1st Place – Richard Walker, “Billy Frank Jr., 1931-2014: ‘A Giant’ Will Be Missed” – Indian Country Today Media Network

2nd Place – Gale Courey Toensing, “The Fire That Was Billy Frank Jr.; Indian Country’s Greatest Defender” – Indian Country Today Media Network

3rd Place – Stephanie Woodard, “With Control of the Senate at Stake, Native Voters Travel a Bumpy Road to the Polling Place” – Bill Moyers.com

Best News Story

1st Place – Alysa Landry, “Teenagers Charged in ABQ Homeless Murders to Be Tried As Adults by Law” – Indian Country Today Media Network

2nd Place – Alysa Landry, “Teens Murder for Fun; Smash Heads of Homeless Men With Cinder Blocks” – Indian Country Today Media Network

3rd Place – Stephanie Woodard, “Who Called the Sheriff? Pine Ridge Voter Turnout Plummets, Then Rebounds” – Indian Country Today Media Network

Best Coverage of Native America

1st Place – Stephanie Woodard, “Alaska Voting/Series” – Indian Country Today Media Network

2nd Place – Stephanie Woodard, “Going After a Federal Judge’s Racist Emails” – Indian Country Today Media Network

3rd Place – Tanya H. Lee, “Stealing Children: A Look at Indigenous Child Removal Policies” – Indian Country Today Media Network

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NAJA Announces 2015 Award Winners; ICTMN Gets 26 Honors

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