TEMPE, Ariz. – The Osage News staff won a total of 12 Native American Journalists Association Media awards in this year’s national contest recognizing outstanding achievements in covering Indian Country.
The News swept two categories winning first through third places for Best Feature Photo and Best News Story for monthly/bi-monthly newspapers in its respective division size. This is the fifth year the newspaper has participated in the annual contest hosted by Norman, Okla.-based NAJA.
The newspaper’s 2013 award wins include:
In the Best News Story category, Editor Shannon Shaw-Duty won first place for her story “Nation paying for more than just tribal officials on business trips” reporting on non-government officials traveling to the 2011 National Congress of American Indians conference at the Nation’s expense. Senior Reporter Benny Polacca won second place for his story “William Kemble resigns as treasurer of the Osage Nation" and Polacca also won third place for writing “Pawhuska Village Five-Man Board chairman resigns amid audit findings.”
In the Best Feature Photo category, former Newsreporter Jacelle Ramon-Sauberan won first place for a photo she took of Osage In-lon-Schka town crier Caesar Williams during the 2012 dances. Polacca won second place for a straight dancer photo also shot during the 2012 In-Lon-Schka. Editorial Assistant/Photographer Chalene Toehay won third place for a “Cultural walk” photo she took during the annual fall event hosted by the ON Wah-Zha-Zhi Cultural Center.
Toehay also won third place in the Best Sports Photo category for a photo she took during the 2011 Woodland Class A State Championship game.
Former News reporter Sunnie Clahchischiligi won first place in the Best Sports Story category for her story on two Osage sisters playing for the 2013 Lacrosse World Cup championship.
In the Best Feature Story category, Clachischiligi won first place for writing “Osage artist gives elixir of youth to U.S. Veterans” featuring C.R. Redcorn who draws sketches of military veterans for free. Ramon-Sauberan won second place in this category for her story “Osage transgender running for Osage Congress shares her story” featuring Jozi Tall Chief, who ran for the Third ON Congress in the 2012 election.
Shaw-Duty won first place for Best News Photo for a photo shot of the former Grayhorse Village dance arbor before it was razed to make way for the new arbor. Shaw-Duty also won first in the Best Column category.
The News staff received their awards during the 2013 NAJA event co-hosted by Native Public Media and referred to as the 2013 National Native Media Conference. The conference was held July 18-21 in Tempe, Ariz. The Osage News staff and Editorial Board members are NAJA members.
Osage News editor elected to NAJA board of directors
In other NAJA-related news, Shaw-Duty is one of five Native journalists elected to the NAJA board of directors during this year’s conference to a three-year term. This will be Shaw-Duty’s first term ever as a NAJA board member.
According to a NAJA news release, the board members elected will serve more than 330 NAJA member journalists across the United States and Canada. The board will continue to execute NAJA's strategic two-year plan, which includes expanding member benefits.