NAJA to host Covering COVID-19 in Indian Country virtual roundtable July 23

The virtual roundtable series will feature discussions with Indigenous journalists covering the coronavirus pandemic in Indian Country. The first discussion will focus on coverage of the Navajo Nation. NAJA is now accepting pitches for the series.

The Native American Journalists Association recognizes that media professionals, including members working across Indian Country, are working through challenges to sort and assess information quickly as they cover the impact of COVID-19, while also prioritizing their own health and safety. Indigenous communities continue to be disproportionately affected by the pandemic due to pre-existing health vulnerabilities, historical disenfranchisement, and insufficient government support for programs despite treaty obligations.

In response, NAJA extended all memberships at no cost through 2021 and will provide resources and training during this critical moment.

The Covering COVID-19 in Indian Country virtual roundtable series will continue to serve our membership by highlighting expert strategies for covering the pandemic in Indigenous communities. The series will also inform a “Covering COVID-19 in Indian Country” reporting guide. This guide will provide ethical guidance for journalists covering the pandemic. 

The first reporting roundtable will feature four journalists from the Navajo Nation who have covered the outbreak over the past three months. Navajo Nation has one of the highest per-capita infection rates in the U.S.

  • Tom Arviso, Publisher – Navajo Times
  • Donovan Quintero, Photojournalist – Navajo Times
  • Noel Smith, Reporter – Farmington Daily Times
  • Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief – Indian Country Today

Mary Hudetz, a reporter on the Seattle Times’ investigative team, will moderate. 

NAJA will host the “Covering COVID-19 in Indian Country: Navajo Nation” roundtable and live Q&A on Thursday, July 23 at 3 p.m., CT via Zoom and participants may register in advance here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

The recording will also be available on the NAJA website at

NAJA plans to develop additional roundtables, which will focus on the member response to COVID-19 in geographic areas throughout Indian Country. Members may pitch roundtable suggestions through the online form here

All roundtable participants will be compensated for their time and expertise.  

Roundtable experts may also contribute to development of the NAJA “Covering COVID-19 in Indian Country” reporting guide, which will help shape ethical coverage of the coronavirus in the coming years. 

The “Covering COVID-19 in Indian Country” roundtable series is supported by the following sponsors: 

  • Democracy Fund
  • Knight Foundation
  • Google News Initiative
  • Ford Foundation

About NAJA
The Native American Journalists Association serves more than 650 members, including media professionals working in tribal, freelance, independent and mainstream news outlets, as well as academia and students covering Indigenous communities and representing tribal nations from across North America.

The Indigenous Journalist Association Empowers Indigenous Voices in Journalism.
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