American Indian Journalism Institute accepting nominations

American Indian Journalism Institute accepting nominations
The Freedom Forum is accepting nominations for the sixth annual American Indian Journalism Institute (AIJI) � the nation's premier training program for Native American journalism students.

The application deadline is March 31.

AIJI will take place at the Freedom Forum's Al Neuharth Media Center at The University of South Dakota in Vermillion, June 4-23. Any Native American college student with an interest in becoming a newspaper journalist may apply. Once accepted into the program, AIJI participants will be placed in one of four courses according to their interests and experience.


Courses offered in 2006 will include Basic News Reporting, Advanced News Reporting, News Editing and Photojournalism. Each course path will feature its own instructor.

"We're expanding and improving the curriculum this year to help prepare more Native Americans for journalism careers," said Jack Marsh, AIJI director and executive director of the Al Neuharth Media Center. "Students will be able to return to AIJI a second or third year and take different courses."

The Freedom Forum will facilitate and fund the program. Tuition, fees, books, room and board are provided free to enrollees.

To be eligible, Native students must have completed at least one year of college. Applications for the program will be accepted from new participants and from returning AIJI students seeking specialized instruction.

Program graduates will earn four hours of college credit from USD that students may transfer to their current school. In addition, graduates will receive a $500 stipend/scholarship from the Freedom Forum, paid when the student resumes full-time classes in the fall.

Top AIJI graduates will receive paid internships as reporters, copy editors and photographers at daily newspapers and with The Associated Press for up to six weeks this summer. Last summer, more than two dozen AIJI graduates worked in paid news internships.

Graduates also will have the opportunity to join the staff of reznetnews.org � the online Native American college newspaper � as paid journalists when they return to school. With only a few exceptions, reznetnews.org staff members are AIJI graduates.

AIJI administrators prefer that students be nominated by educators, mentors, elders or other interested parties. Students may nominate themselves. However, it is recommended that at least one letter from a teacher, counselor or elder accompany each completed application.

Nominations should explain why the student should be accepted into the program and how the student can be contacted. Nominations should be sent to Jack Marsh, executive director, Al Neuharth Media Center, 555 Dakota St., Vermillion, SD 57069.

Nominations also may be sent via e-mail to jharris@freedomforum.org. Each nominee will be sent additional application forms and materials about the program. The application also is online at freedomforum.org/diversity.

For further information about the nomination process, call Janine Harris, assistant to the executive director, at 605/677-5424.

The American Indian Journalism Institute is part of the Freedom Forum's commitment to increase employment diversity at daily newspapers.

"Having even one Native American working in a newsroom makes that newspaper more aware of Indians in its community, and more sensitive and intelligent in reporting stories about them," Marsh said. "American Indians are by far the most underrepresented people of color in the news media, and this often results in stereotypical and erroneous newspaper coverage of Indian issues and Indian people."

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