American Indian Journalism Institute to be held at USD

American Indian Journalism Institute to be held at USD Twenty-six Native college students from 11 states and 21 tribes are enrolled to attend the fifth annual American Indian Journalism Institute, June 5-24 at the Al Neuharth Media Center on campus at The University of South Dakota.

AIJI is a joint program of the Freedom Forum and USD and is the country's largest college academic program for Native journalism students. AIJI teaches the fundamentals of good journalism in an intense four-credit course that concentrates on reporting, writing, photojournalism, ethics and professional standards. Students attend classes, receive practical experience in journalism labs, go on educational field trips and produce two editions of an institute newspaper, The Native Journal.

"The Freedom Forum is committed to improving employment diversity in daily newspapers. AIJI promotes journalism opportunities for Native Americans because they are the most under-represented group in the industry. At last count there were only 295 Natives among the 54,000 journalists working at daily newspapers," said the Freedom Forum's Jack Marsh, who is founding director of AIJI and executive director of the Al Neuharth Media Center.

The AIJI visiting faculty includes 13 experienced and award-winning journalists: Ray Chavez, journalism professor, USD; Steve Chin, new media specialist for the Maynard Institute; Michael Downs, journalism professor, University of Montana; Katja Elias, assistant metro editor of the Sioux Falls, Argus Leader; Bill Elsen, a former editor and recruiter for The Washington Post; Val Hoeppner, deputy photo director for the Indianapolis Star; Margaret Holt, a senior editor for the Chicago Tribune; Kelly Johnson, copy editor for The Oregonian in Portland; Jack Marsh, executive director of the Freedom Forum's Al Neuharth Media Center; Dennis McAuliffe, University of Montana journalism professor and director of RezNetNews.org; Jodi Rave, columnist and Native issues reporter for Lee newspapers; Fred Sweets, a former senior photo editor for the Associated Press; and Clarence Williams, who won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize as a staff photographer for the Los Angeles Times.

Several guest speakers will give presentations during AIJI: Mary Kay Blake, senior vice president of the Freedom Forum; Michael Gartner, former president of NBC News, veteran newspaper editor and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing; Victor Merina, senior fellow, Annenberg Institute for Justice and Journalism; Al Neuharth, founder of the Freedom Forum and USA TODAY; Wilma Mankiller, former principal chief of the Cherokee Nation; Chuck Trimble, former executive director of the National Congress of American Indians and founder of the American Indian Press Association; and Ron Walters, former executive director of the Native American Journalists Association. The presentations will be videotaped and televised later this year on South Dakota Public Broadcasting.

Sixteen AIJI graduates will work this summer as paid interns at: Argus Leader, Sioux Falls; Associated Press, Sioux Falls bureau; The Forum, Fargo, ND; Muskogee (OK) Daily Phoenix; St. Cloud (MN) Times; and at Lee newspapers in Billings, MT, Tucson, AZ, and elsewhere.

by Bob Karolevitz

Writer at Large

I could never be an honest-to-goodness farmer.

Even in this technological age, they have to know how to dehorn a cow, mend a fence, pull a calf, fix all kinds of machinery, shear a sheep and treat coccidiosis.

They also have to know when to plant, when to harvest, what herbicides to use and how to hedge a crop in the bin.

Heck, I can't do any of those things!

Farming has changed considerably since the days of Old Dobbin. It used to be a way of life. Then the farm became a food-and-fibre factory, and cost accounting and minimum production emerged as the bywords of a new industry called agri-business.

That wasn't what Phyllis and I had in mind when we moved to Cedar Crest Farm a long, long time ago. While we had no illusions of turning back the calendar, we certainly didn't intend to get into the production rat race or fall into the my-tractor-is-bigger-than-your-tractor trap which too often gives agriculturists ulcers.

All we wanted was to live at reasonable peace with ourselves, our neighbors and our fickle friend, Dame Nature!

We weren't interested in big, sophisticated machinery (which was hard to explain to equipment salesmen who came calling); we didn't plan to make a lot of money (which the banker found difficult to understand); and we didn't propose to compete with anybody to get more bushels per acre (which stumped all the Joneses who weren't being kept up with).

I did take three hours of Crops in school, but that's as much of a farmer I was.

With all its drawbacks and dilemmas, our place in the country proved to be a near-perfect setting for our weird philosophies in an era of fierce competition and confrontation. Utopia, and not bottom-line fulfillment, was our desire. Live-and-let-live was our old-fashioned goal.

Farm surpluses would never come from our place. And we wouldn't get rich unless we found gold nuggets lying on the ground or struck oil in the cow pasture.

We almost got into the production grind when I bought a cute little Angus heifer named Phyllis II as a birthday present for my wife. Phyllis (mine) fell in love with that blocky animal, and soon afterwards we got a second Angus. That would have been okay, but, unfortunately, both beasts promptly discovered a break in the fence (which I didn't mend) and got out into the green corn.

One died, and Phyllis II ended up with four horrendous stomach aches. Phyllis (mine) and I kept that very sick bovine alive by running her up and down the feed yard until she debloated herself. We jogged wheezingly behind her, and � believe me � tail-gating an overfed cow is not easy to explain to our city friends.

We then wanted to get more cattle, but � thank goodness! � we couldn't work out a deal with the World Bank, the Federal Reserve Board, our friendly local banker or Oliver Warbucks.

(I won't tell you about how Phyllis "inherited" a couple of 4-H lambs and soon had 80 ewes with offspring gamboling about the place. It was the second time we almost lost sight of our profitless goal.)

I started writing this column after I saw rows of new corn plants popping up in nearby fields. I told Phyllis (mine) that if I sowed them, I would stop the planter every few feet to see if the danged thing was dropping the seeds right. I never did trust the machinery.

No, I couldn't be a legitimate farmer even if I wanted to. I don't have enough smarts for it!

© 2005 Robert F. Karolevitz

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