Jennifer Loren, the host of Osiyo- Voices of the Cherokee People, tells the audience of Lens of Sovereignty, “you can do it for less,” when addressing the 30,000 dollar per episode budget her team has when producing their monthly magazine-style program. Gila River Indian News from Sacaton, Arizona is doing just that– producing short news videos that air online and on their local low power station with a minimal budget of $0.00. While Osiyo, funded by the Cherokee Nation, airs 30 minute documentary-style episodes on regional television stations as well as FNX-TV, relatively smaller communities are scaling back in cost and production while still covering important stories.
The Gila River Indian News team, composed of four members, publish a printed and online newspaper that covers 7 districts twice a month and are now pushing out 4-7 minute news reports, weekly. The news team managed to add video news to their repertoire without increasing any budget caps by not outsourcing production teams and instead working with 3-4 members of their community’s communication department to assist with camerawork and editing. The quickly evolving news team who transitioned from monthly newspapers to bi-monthly in 2013, added this video component within the last year and continue to grow from conferences such as EIJ16.
“I’ve been to other SPJ and NAJA conferences and this year’s is the most educational,” Mikhail Sundust, GRIN. Attending sessions such as Shield and Other laws in Indian Country, Native America and the Environment, Politics in Indian Country and non-Native news focused sessions as well allow for a variety of new knowledge and skill sets to be cultivated. With the shared space at this year’s Excellence in Journalism conference, Native journalists, such as Sundust and Roberto Jackson of GRIN, are finding that the breakout sessions, in their varied nature, are enriching their craft. Sundust, as a reporter on the tribal government owned newspaper, found the legal session (Shield) to be “the most eye-opening,” as it informed him on his rights to publish; he was also excited to attend the audio and visual critique to improve on the quality of their video news segments.
Those news segments can be found at:
Their September 6, 2016 news segment: