By: Lani Hansen, Senior Reporter
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma– The Native American Journalists Association announced the winners of the 2020 National Native Media Awards.
More than 250 awards are presented recognizing the best coverage of Indian Country. The annual comeptetion recognizes excellence in reporting by Indigenous and non-Indigenous journalists from across the U.S. and Canada, according to NAJA newsroom.
Staff of the Mvskoke Media received a total of eight awards including the 2020 NAJA Elias Boudinot Free Press Award. The Elias Boudinot Free Press award is named for the first editor of the Cherokee Phoenix, the award recognizes a publication or media outlet that has shown dedication and commitment for freedom of the press.
“Mvskoke Media receiving the Elias Boudinot for a second time is a testimant to the dedicated staff, the support of Mvskoke people who demand press freedom, and our leaders who have committed to upholding a high level of transparency for the citizens they serve,” Reporter Angel Ellis said. “The fact we had to do it twice, means that the thread upholding the standard of transparency is tenuous, and we have work to do to ensure the voices of Indian Country always have a platform.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NAJA has postponed the 2020 National Native Media Conference until Sept. 15-19, 2021 in Phoenix. In response they presented the awards virtually this year which was on Oct. 15. This year the department was recognized with one first-place, three second-place and four third-place awards.
Reporter Angel Ellis and Multi-media Specialist Jerrad Moore won two awards. First place in television general excellence for their presentation ‘Muscogee (Creek) Nation Election Coverage.’ Second place in best multimedia for their presentation ‘Christmas at Ryal Schools.’
Graphic Designer Mark Hill won third place in best layout for print.
Reporter Angel Ellis won three awards. Second place in excellence in beat reporting for her article ‘The Bruner Case.’ Third place in excellence in beat reporting for her article ‘Former Chief Pleads Guilty- Justice Beat.’ Third place in best feature story for her article ‘Legislation supports students culture in academic ceremony.’
“It’s always special to be recognized among such a prestigious class of Indigenous talent,” Ellis said. “It’s a tough competition, but I was very grateful to have my work with video recognized since it is a new skill I have been working on.”
Radio Specialist Gary Fife won third place in best multimedia for his presentation on ‘An Interview with Poet Laureate: Joy Harjo.’
Ellis who won three awards said, “I’m so very proud to see my colleagues place and bring home awards. It has been a tough year but I work with some of the best Indigenous journalists in the industry.”
Mvskoke Media receieved second place in general excellence, including the Elias Boudinot Award.