The Hocak Worak staff made a trip to Anaheim, California to attend the Excellence in Journalism and Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) annual convention to learn the newest journalism trends and tricks of the trade. The convention serves as a time to recognize excellence in reporting by native and non-native journalists from the U.S. and Canada.

The convention was held at the Anaheim Marriot, next door to the Anaheim Convention Center and Disneyland, on September 7 to 10.

The convention brought together journalist working in print, television, and radio among the ranks for various organizations, such as the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), and NAJA.

The annual gathering offers a time to recharge and refocus by networking with journalism peers and discuss hot topic issues while sharing coverage strategies.

The journalists also take time to mentor and encourage journalism students to become future leaders in the field. The Native American Journalists Association hosted 10 journalism students from throughout Indian Country within Native American Journalism Fellowship class of 2017.

Early breakout sessions featured information on Charter Schools in Indian Country, hot topic issue coverage of Trump’s rescinding of Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA), how Immigration falls into many areas of journalism, and sensitivity of Violence against Native Women and Children.

CNN was the host of the Opening Night Reception at Bowlmor Lanes, which was walking distance from the convention hotel. Journalist were greeted and received a pair of CNN socks prior to enjoying a night of snacks, drinks, and unlimited bowling.

Continued breakout sessions addressed Native Truth by dispelling myths and overcoming invisibility and reporting on Health and Nutrition in Indian Country, before a NAJA luncheon to honor one of its own.

NAJA founder Tim Giago was awarded the 2017 NAJA-Medill Milestone Achievement award. Giago, founder of the Lakota Times, which became Indian Country Today, was presented the award by Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism’s new professor, Dr. Patty Loew.

Giago recalled founding Lakota Times as an independent newspaper to expose tribal government wrongdoings, and dealing with vandalism of his office and coming under gun fire during his commute back in the 1980s.

Giago sold Indian Country Today to the Oneida Nation of New York in 1998, and currently publishes the Native Sun News, South Dakota’s largest weekly newspaper.

Giago and many other journalists discussed what’s next for Indian Country Today Media Network as they ceased operation, calling it a hiatus.

RTDNA and EIJ also took time to honor two other journalists: Lester Holt of NBC Nightly News received the Paul White Award, and Jake Tapper of CNN received the John F. Hogan Distinguished Service Award.

Holt appeared via satellite due to covering Hurricane Irma in Florida.

Tapper appeared in person and encouraged young journalist to do their best.

The NAJA National Native Media Awards Banquet was when the annual awards were present to the 2017 award winners. The Hocak Worak competes in the Professional Division I category.

Editor Marlon WhiteEagle won second place in Best Editorial Print and Online for “Take some time to visit family and relatives” and in Best Sports Photo Print and Online for “Ho-Chunk Nation color run.”

Reporter Ken Luchterhand won first place for Best Environmental Coverage for “Winona ‘No DAPL’ Demonstration takes to the streets, Mississippi Bridge” and in Best Health Coverage for “Ho-Chunk Nation hosts ‘Share the Care’ Cancer Conference.”

He won second place in Best Elder Coverage for “Ten Ho-Chunk elders trek to South America for fun, education and cultural understanding” and in Best Environmental Coverage for “Earth Day observance keys on nature, wildlife and preserving the cultural aspects.”

Luchterhand also won third place in Best Elder Coverage for “World War II veterans honored for their service at ceremony.”
Reporter Tim Wohlers won first and second place in Best Environmental Coverage for “Greendeer walks the line for environment” and “Milwaukee residents support the protest against DAPL.”

He won second place in Best Health Coverage for “Journey of Hope Conference brings youth into the world of diabetes prevention” and in Best Feature Photo Print and Online for “Hands on wall.”

He won third place in Best Health Coverage for “American Red Cross calls upon the House of Wellness for help” and in Best Sports Photo for “Hands raised in victory.”

The Hocak Worak won third place in Best Layout. The newsletter won 14 awards total.

The Hocak Worak thanks Geralyn Subra of the Print Shop for her continuous cooperation in the layout of the Hocak Worak. The Hocak Worak also congratulates all the winners of the 2017 National Native Media Awards. Keep up the great work.