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Friday, February 15, 2002

2nd American Indian Journalism Institute seeks student nominations

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VERMILLION, S.D. — The Freedom Forum will fully fund and run an academic journalism program for American Indian college students again this summer, and the University of South Dakota will award four hours of college credit to graduates of the three-week course.

The American Indian Journalism Institute will offer 25 Native American students the opportunity to train as newspaper reporters, editors and photographers. The institute will be June 2-21 at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. To be eligible, students must be enrolled in a college and must have completed their freshman year. They also should be able to provide proof of tribal enrollment or lineage.

The Freedom Forum Neuharth Center at the University of South Dakota will pay all costs, including tuition, fees, room and board, and it will give students who successfully complete the program a $500 scholarship/stipend. The college-level course is sanctioned through the university’s Department of Contemporary Media and Journalism, a nationally accredited journalism department. Students may apply to transfer the credits to other schools where they are enrolled.

Follow-up programs for institute graduates include possible paid internships at daily newspapers, further schooling and eventual job placement.

The summer institute, in its second year, is one of the most significant journalism programs ever directed at American Indian college students, according to Ramňn Chŕvez, chairman of the Department of Contemporary Media and Journalism at the University of South Dakota who will oversee the institute teaching staff.

“The American Indian Journalism Institute will be the first chance for many tribal college students to study journalism,” Chŕvez said. Their schools typically lack journalism classes and school newspapers, the most common routes to journalism careers.

The American Indian Journalism Institute is part of the Freedom Forum’s commitment to increasing newsroom diversity at daily newspapers. “Improving diversity — having just one Native American working in a newsroom — makes a newspaper more aware of Indians in its community, and more sensitive and intelligent in reporting stories about them,” said Jack Marsh, director of the Freedom Forum Neuharth Center and the institute.

American Indians are the most under-represented people of color in the news media — and stereotypical and erroneous newspaper coverage of Indian issues and Indian people shows it, Marsh said. Estimates of the number of Native Americans working at daily newspapers range up to about 300 — out of more than 55,000 journalists nationwide.

Marsh said students will take a concentrated academic program teaching the basics of journalism in a university-approved course titled “Journalism Theory and Practice.”

Students will concentrate for one week each on reporting, editing and photography, and will help publish a newspaper. Weekly field trips will introduce students to other aspects of journalism, such as political reporting and sports writing. Faculty and guest presenters will include professional journalists who are Native American.

Each student will have a single room in a dormitory. Meals will be provided on campus.

Participants may be nominated by educators, mentors or other interested parties. Nominations should be made in the form of a letter addressed to: Jack Marsh, director, Freedom Forum Neuharth Center, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD 57069.

Nomination letters should include brief explanations of why nominees should be accepted into the institute and how they can be contacted. Nominees then will be invited to provide further information about themselves and examples of their writing, such as an essay about why they want to attend. Self-nominations also are welcome, as are nominations by e-mail (

Nomination letters should be received by April 15.

For further information, call Marsh at 605-677-6315.


American Indian Journalism Institute
Information on 2002 institute for Native American college students on the basics of journalism.  05.09.02