Native American Journalists Association 

2018 Native American Journalism Fellowship

The Native American Journalists Association's student training program has become a cornerstone in the organization’s commitment to raising the next generation of storytellers. 

The Native American Journalism Fellowship for college students now stands alone as this country’s single most important career pipeline created specifically for aspiring Native American journalists. 

Each year, the program pairs students with professional journalists who often continue to provide academic and professional advice long after the program week ends.

NAJA’s annual student programs are scheduled in coordination with NAJA's annual National Native Media Conference. 

Students will work on stories under the guidance of mentors who are professional journalists. Stories produced by students during the conference will be published by NAJA in a printed newspaper and on our website. Students also gain hands-on experience in producing radio and television newscasts.

About NAJF

NAJA introduced the NAJF for selected Native Voice participants who desired additional journalism training and mentoring. This innovative opportunity involves multimedia training, webinars and ongoing mentoring, plus guidance in applying for existing internship opportunities in tribal and mainstream media.

Ten participants will be selected as NAJ Fellows and preference will be given to juniors, seniors and graduate students.

A two-day training in the nuts and bolts of journalism will give students the basic tools they need to excel in reporting on the week’s activities at the conference. The printing of the Native Voice newspaper is a highlight of the program because it represents the progress made within the course of a week and gives students an immense sense of achievement.

A reception held in the students’ honor also is a major event because it celebrates the students and gives them the opportunity to network with recruiters from universities and news organizations.

NAJA’s leadership takes pride in our students’ work, believing it holds a connection to the long-held storytelling traditions found within our Native cultures. Our programs have helped aspiring journalists land jobs in the industry. Some former students have gone on to become journalism educators themselves.

College students interested in learning more about writing, photography, videography, design, radio and online media are encouraged to apply for our programs. Students serious about pursuing careers in journalism are also encouraged to apply for scholarships awarded annually by NAJA.

Selected participants will be assigned to a professional media mentor and earn three (3) credit hours from the University of Montana for completing the fellowship. Students will also receive regular notices about internship and employment opportunities with NAJA partners, training and skill-building opportunities throughout the year.  

NAJ Fellows will receive all-expenses paid attendance to the conference for hands-on training in journalism and digital media. Participants will be given pre-conference assignments on issues or trends related to Native American communities and to Native journalism. 

Students in the second year of the fellowship will also attend the conference. During this portion of the training, students will focus on job readiness, meeting potential employers and immersion in journalism topics. They will also fulfill a role on-site at conference, serving as student editors incoming first-year NAJ Fellows.


The students will work in a newsroom-style setting with journalists from tribal and mainstream media. Mentors work closely with students to provide guidance and editorial direction. Student reporters will primarily cover the Native American community near the National Native Media Conference site. In 2015, this will be Washington, D.C.


Students will gain a deep sense of accomplishment and understanding of what it takes to be a successful journalist after a week of meeting deadlines and new challenges. Together, they produce a newspaper and television news and radio packages.

College students will complete at least two stories, with at least one of the stories produced in two or more mediums, whether it be text and video, photography and audio, or any other combination of approaches to storytel

All students will learn how to use new equipment, and learn about news topic and issues as they interview sources and develop storytelling skills. Stories students and editors choose for publication will be reported throughout the Phoenix Valley, under the guidance of their professional journalists who will mentor them and work as editors guiding stories. Most stories will focus on the local Native American and journalism communities.ling.

College students will meet with their mentors at least three times in advance of the gathering via phone and/or Skype to begin brainstorming story ideas and determine logistics for reporting projects.

When students have identified stories and pitched them, the mentors will help vet the ideas and work with the students on how to best begin reporting. Students arrive for orientation and introductions then begin their intensive, nuts and bolts training. Within the next few days, students will follow their best leads, gather information, and deliver stories in a newsroom environment. Students go on assignment each day. 

Throughout the week, guest speakers and select visitors attending the National Native Media Conference will deliver brief presentations and take part in question-and-answer sessions with the students. On Friday, students will be recognized at an event held in their honor to showcase completed news stories and give students -- especially those preparing to enter the field soon -- an opportunity to network with professionals and recruiters attending the conference.

The Native American Journalists Association is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit charitable organization.

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