NAJF NativeEye 2015-2016

Empowering journalism students to cover the presidential race through the lens of Native America.
Rebecca Landsberry
1,180 Facebook Friends
Norman, Oklahoma
United States
1 Team Member

NativeEye 2016: The Presidential Race through the Lens of Native America


Covering stories about the 2016 presidential race is the focus for college students accepted into the 2015-2016 class of the Native American Journalism Fellowship (NAJF).

This groundbreaking project combines mentoring, training, hands-on experience in multimedia reporting, and online coursework through the University of Montana School of Journalism.

NativeEye 2016 is administered by the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA), and is made possible through partnerships with the University of Montana and the Newseum Institute. Although most of the one-year project will be conducted through online and digital communication, a crucial component of the yearlong project involves hands-on training through an on-site newsroom immersion experience during the week of NAJA’s annual National Native Media Conference, held this year in the Washington D.C.-area in July.

Need for funding

NAJA needs to raise $15,000 to provide 10 college students with travel, lodging, food, onsite transportation to cover stories, and other expenses related to their educational training.

This funding would not only cover their expenses from Sunday, July 5 through Saturday, July 11, but would also provide the necessary tools (and, hopefully, the confidence) they need to cover critical political stories.

Project goals

A new cohort of young Native American journalists will gain experience in covering national elections while leveraging digital technology, which will give these fellows an edge when they enter the workforce. In addition, through the coverage offered through NativeEye 2016, Native American voters will be engaged and informed about the presidential candidates and will learn how the candidates’ proposed policies might impact them and their communities. 

How NativeEye 2016 works

NativeEye 2016 is a project that brings together college students and experienced journalists to create content about the 2016 presidential race. The stories will be published on a web portal beginning in the fall of 2015. The portal is being designed not only to inform voters about issues important to Native Americans, but also to provide voters with information about how each presidential candidate’s proposed policies and platform would affect American Indian and Alaska Native communities across the country.

NAJA envisions that the NativeEye web portal would be a destination website for voters to interact with each other through chats, as well as a place for them to view videos and other multimedia content about the presidential race.

The 10 Native American college students will produce their work through an upper-level online journalism course offered by the University of Montana, where they will gain three hours of college credit toward a degree.

Students will be matched with mentors – professional journalists with experience in covering elections – who help guide the fellows in their stories about the presidential race.

Support diversity in civic engagement

The United States continues to grow more racially and ethnically diverse, yet the way presidential candidates speak to voters has changed little since its birth as a nation. To those seeking the highest office, the main audience is white America.

Mainstream media cover presidential races largely through that same lens, even though the electorate increasingly is becoming more diverse. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that over the last five presidential elections, the share of voters who were racial or ethnic minorities rose from just over one in six in 1996 to more than one in four in 2012.

Native Americans and their issues are rarely part of the national discussion during a presidential race, yet in the 2008 election, several states were impacted with the increased participation of Native voters. The continued lack of attention to this segment of the population underscores the need for a place for Native American voters to access information about the presidential candidates – through the lens of their own tribal issues – so they may make an informed choice on Election Day. 

Goals of the Native American Journalism Fellowship (NAJF)

- Create rich experience for Native American students that inspires them to pursue a career in journalism

- Offer training that prepares students for the newsroom

- Prepare participants for job offers (program graduates)

- Execute a successful project that turns into a model for an ongoing program

- Produce active NAJA professional members who contribute to the organization and become mentors to other aspiring journalists

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raised by 10 people in 19 days
2% funded
6 days left
Verified Nonprofit
$15,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign will receive all funds raised even if it does not reach its goal.
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