“We’re not necessarily focusing on the shadows and the sadness”

A longform think piece at Nieman Reports examines some best practices in "Bringing Native American Stories to a National Audience":

Stories that mention Native Americans remain comparatively rare, according to Christopher Josey, who conducted research on this topic as a doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois. His 2010 review of the top 20 Internet news sites by traffic, from The Daily Beast to The New York Times, found that Native Americans accounted for .6 percent of the people portrayed in news coverage on those sites, though Census figures show that the 5.2 million Native Americans make up 1.7 percent of the U.S. population. When they were mentioned in stories, Josey says, Native Americans were often portrayed in stereotypical situations—as the owners of and workers in casinos, for example. “By neglecting them in coverage and showing them in stereotypical ways when they do,” he says, “news media are communicating that Native Americans are not a vital part of the national conversation on race.”

By interviewing and quoting several Native American journalists such as Mary Hudetz, Mark Trahant, Tristan Ahtone, and others, this article does well focusing on how journalism can best tell stories about highly marginalized Native communities across the country. 

Most news articles about Indian country are focused on substance abuse, crime, or other such negative aspects. Missing from the common news reports are articles on Native survivance and success. A number of Native journalists are reversing this trend.

Jason Begay, of the Native News Project, says it best:

“We’re not necessarily focusing on the shadows and the sadness, but on how people are persevering.”