Native News Honors Project

More than twenty years ago, the University of Montana School of Journalism’s faculty created the Native News Honors Project, a course designed to address the longstanding problem of the news media’s coverage of American Indians. In contrast to reactive reporting, the project focuses on being proactive.

Every spring, the Native News professors come up with a theme for their class to investigate. After some research, listening to guest speakers and choosing an angle for their story, the students spend their spring break on the reservations reporting and photographing their stories and multimedia pieces.

Professor Carol Van Valkenburg taught the course since its inception, creating a strong connection with the project. She believes the student’s work has caused the professional media to do a better job of covering Native American issues.

“We show professionals just how well it could be done,” said Van Valkenburg, who retired in December 2011. “I am so impressed so often with the work our students do. I think they have done really groundbreaking work.”

Native News, a publication created by the class and inserted annually in one of Montana’s newspapers, has won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award in addition to national awards every year.

Read Native News.

Learn more about the Native News Honors Project and the School of Journalism.