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Students at Cronkite School Dominate Competition in National Native Media Awards

July 23, 2019
Lillian Donahue

Cronkite alumna Lillian Donahue (2019) took home two first-place honors in the 2019 National Native Media Awards competition. Students will be recognized during an awards ceremony on Sept. 18.

Journalism students at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication took home seven first-place awards during the 2019 National Native Media Awards, the most of any school in the nation.

The Native American Journalists Association announced that students at ASU won a total of 17 awards across radio, television, writing and online news categories for their in-depth coverage of issues important to Native American communities.

“The Cronkite School is dedicated to increasing both the quantity and quality of Native American news coverage to better serve Native communities regionally and nationally,” said Cronkite Assistant Dean Rebecca Blatt. “These awards are a testament to the outstanding work our students are producing and the Cronkite School’s increased efforts to cover tribes and Native people across the Americas.”

Earlier this year, Indian Country Today, a national news organization devoted to the coverage of Native American issues and communities, moved its newsroom from Washington to the Cronkite School. The expansion of the digital media outlet includes the first-ever national television news program by and about Native Americans.

Cronkite News, the student-produced and faculty-led news organization of Arizona PBS, has strengthened its coverage of indigenous communities. The media outlet took home 16 NAJA awards, including six first-place honors.

Recent Cronkite alumna Lillian Donahue took home the top award in the TV – Best Feature Story and Print/Online – Best Feature Photo categories. Her Cronkite News story, “Supai village residents are fearful for their future,” took an in-depth look at uranium mining in the Grand Canyon and its devastating impact on members of the Havasupai Tribe.

The Carnegie-Knight News21 program, a national multi-university reporting initiative headquartered at the Cronkite School, also tied for first place in the Print/Online - Best Feature Story category.

ASU’s Turning Points Magazine received two honors for stories written by Cronkite alumna Taylor Notah. Notah won first place in the Print/Online – Best Feature Story category for her story, “Showdown on the Rez,” which highlighted the ASU-Baylor women’s basketball game held in Fort Defiance, Arizona.

The winners will be recognized during the National Native Media Conference in Prior Lake, Minnesota, on Sept. 18. This year, the annual competition received more than 600 entries across seven student and professional categories.

About NAJA
NAJA serves and empowers Native journalists through programs and actions designed to enrich journalism and promote Native cultures. For more than 30 years, NAJA has remained committed to increasing the representation of American Indian journalists working in media, while encouraging both mainstream and tribal media to attain the highest standards of professionalism, ethics and responsibility.

The complete list of NAJA winners at ASU:

TV – Best Feature Story

First Place
Lillian Donahue
Cronkite News
Arizona State University
Supai village residents are fearful for their future

Second Place
Lillian Donahue
Cronkite News
Arizona State University
Indigenous tribes unite at the World Championship Hoop Dances

TV – Best News Story

First Place
Samantha Gebers
Cronkite News
Arizona State University
Protestors: Culture Not Costume

Second Place
Ariana Bustos
Cronkite News
Arizona State University
Indian educational systems face cuts in the Trump administration budget

TV – General Excellence in Student Coverage

First Place
Cronkite News
Arizona State University

Print / Online – Best Sports Story

First Place
Nate Fain
Cronkite News
‘Looking for someone like me’: JJ Nakai blazes trail for younger Native American basketball players

Print / Online – Best Feature Photo

First Place
Lillian Donahue
Cronkite News
Family keeps Apache traditions alive

Second Place
Anya Magnuson
Cronkite News
Honoring tradition: All-Indian rodeo

Third Place
Nicole Neri
Cronkite News
Jordyn Lunn, 22, shows her dress

Print / Online – Best Feature Story

First Place – Tie
Taylor Notah (Cronkite alumna)
Turning Points Magazine
Showdown on the Rez

First Place – Tie
Garet Bleir and Anya Zoledziowski
Carnegie-Knight News21
Cases of missing and murdered Native American women challenge police, courts

Second place – Tie
Sarabeth Henne
Cronkite News
Tribally owned solar power plant beats skeptics, odds on Navajo Reservation

Second Place – Tie
Tayler Brown
Cronkite News
Native American farmer’s plan moves to global market, great sustainability

Third Place – Tie
Lillian Donahue
Cronkite News
Full circle: Urban Native American family keeps Apache traditions alive through hoop dancing

Third Place – Tie
Christopher Cadeau and Lillian Donahue
Cronkite News
Hands, heart and feet: Havasupai children write letters urging Trump to ban canyon mining

Print / Online – Best News Story

First Place
Bryan Pietsch
Cronkite News
Tribal leaders tell Senate voting barriers are persistent, systemic

Second Place – Tie
Lillian Donahue and Abdel Jimenez
Cronkite News
Despite rough patches, officials recall McCain’s service to Native Americans

Second Place – Tie
Alexis Egeland
Cronkite News
Potential buyer for Navajo Generating Station out, plant closure likely

Print / Online – General Excellence in Student Coverage

Third Place
Taylor Notah (Cronkite alumna)
Turning Points Magazine
Arizona State University