Rethinking the role of the Native press

Trahant Reports

cxyuifwuoaawk28So I am writing my 3 challenges piece (from my latest idea board & I will post that Sunday morning) … but I am also musing about the role of the media, especially Native media.

Is Facebook and other social media the best platforms to reach Indian Country?

As Facebook & Google crack down on fake news * important as it is * it also has the potential to disrupt independent journalism because we don’t have organizations behind us. What looks real, is often not? What’s serious is sometimes ignored? What gets a lot of clicks may be nutrition-free? How do we make certain that context gets as much attention and discourse as a fad story.

To me the biggest problem with social media (and much of our indigenous media) is that all stories are treated equal. There’s not the visual clues that help readers understand what’s more important and what’s less so. (Or even better, leading a path that helps a reader navigate complexity).

Elias Boudinot wrote in 1832: “I do conscientiously believe it to be the duty of every citizen to reflect upon the dangers with which we are surrounded; to view the darkness which seems to lie before our people — our prospects, and the evils with which we are threatened; to talk over all these matters, and, if possible, come to some definite and satisfactory conclusion.”

More than ever we need a satisfactory conclusion. So, what should indigenous media look like? How should it be funded? And, most important, how do convey a sense of purpose and direction?

Pictures of Our Nobler Selves. — Mark Trahant

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Mark Trahant

Mark Trahant is an independent journalist. He currently serves as the Charles R. Johnson Professor at the University of North Dakota.

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