LAWRENCE — One of the most important roles of a journalist is finding the news that isn’t covered and sharing it with the communities that need it. The William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications at the University of Kansas pairs its students with community partners to spread information through “Good Morning Indian Country,” a morning talk show and news program for native audiences .
The show is a partnership between the Lawrence Arts Center, KU, Haskell Indian Nations University, and community members to provide news and information as “morning radio for the reservation,” as the program describes itself. -same. The show features interviews with Indigenous journalists, conversations, weather reports, powwow updates, and news provided by journalism students that would otherwise likely be discovered.
“It’s about embedding Indigenous media in a geography that has not traditionally had media representation. There is room to grow, and I look forward to contributing to it,” said Melissa Greene-Blye, assistant professor of journalism at KU and partner of Good Morning Indian Country. “Our students realize that there is a lot of interesting news for Indigenous communities that might not be covered much, and it helps them to become aware of it and learn more about representation. I always say that one of the most important ways to improve representation is to educate the next generation of journalists, and working on the “GMIC” provides a great opportunity to do that. »
The idea for “Good Morning Indian Country” was born when Lawrence native and KU alumnus Freddy Gipp realized how isolated people were during the pandemic. He approached Ruben Little Head Sr., a well-known powwow host, who broadcast live on Facebook on Indigenous issues with the idea of a streaming discussion and news program. The show debuted with a six-episode run this year and has already been renewed for an 18-episode run in the fall. Broadcast from the main stage of the Lawrence Arts Center every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., the show is supported by a 2021 natural and cultural grant from the Douglas County Heritage Conservation Council, Humanities Kansas and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts .
Lily O’Shea Becker, a junior journalism student and minor in political science at KU, was taking a class on diversity and the media with Greene-Blye, a member of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, when she was approached with the idea. to be a trainee for the show. . One of five interns working on the KU and Haskell show, she said being able to provide news packages for the show while honing her journalistic skills and providing information to an underserved community was fortunate. that she couldn’t let go.
“I thought it would be nice to gain experience where I didn’t have any, and I loved my diversity in the media class,” Becker said. “In this class, I noticed that there was not a lot of Aboriginal media and that important news went unnoticed. I don’t know if I will have the opportunity to be there at the very beginning of a project like the one I have with ‘Good Morning Indian Country’ again, and there is always room to learn.
So far, the students, who were part of KU’s KUJH news TV show, have covered stories such as STEM programs at Haskell Indian Nations University, Indigenous art spaces and controversial statements about indigenous populations made by a state education official. Becker said it’s been rewarding to write news, provide video and graphics, and curate content with partners while learning what works best for the program.
Greene-Blye, whose research examines journalistic representations and negotiations of Native American identity, said “Good Morning Indian Country” is not just an opportunity to provide meaningful local, regional and national news that is often overlooked, but also an opportunity to highlight the vital role of journalism in serving indigenous communities as well.
Image credit: Lawrence Arts Center