Cronkite School, Gaylord College
The University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, left, and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, right, are partnering to increase coverage of Native American communities. (provided)

Two of the nation’s prime journalism schools are partnering to expand coverage of Indigenous communities.

The University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University announced Wednesday they will increase reporting of native issues in the news services each operates.

Under the collaboration, students from Gaylord News and Cronkite News will publish on both organizations’ websites, share ideas and pair students to cover developing stories. Students from both schools already share a newsroom in ASU’s new Ambassador Barbara Barrett and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Washington Center, located three blocks from the White House, from which they cover national news about indigenous issues.

In addition, both news organizations distribute student work to more than 100 partner news organizations across the country. These media outlets will now have access to stories from both Cronkite and Gaylord students.

The Cronkite School and Gaylord College each have prioritized coverage of Native American communities and issues through reporting programs and classroom teaching. The Cronkite School is home to Indian Country Today and covers Indigenous communities extensively through its Cronkite News service, the news arm of Arizona PBS. This semester the school also is offering a reporting course focused exclusively on Indigenous communities.

Gaylord College, the home of the Native American Journalists Association, just concluded a 41-part series entitled Exiled to Indian Country that was distributed by its Gaylord News service. This semester the college launched the Bob Burke Native American Reporting Center, which will train reporters to work in indigenous communities.

“This collaboration between the Gaylord News program and our friends at Cronkite will provide badly needed coverage of Native American communities in Oklahoma and Arizona, as well as nationally,” said Ed Kelley, dean of the Gaylord College. “The networks both programs have established through media partners across the country will distribute Gaylord and Cronkite students’ stories, to the benefit of news consumers. This alliance not only gives young journalists more opportunities to hone their skills but also a greater understanding of Native issues.”

Cronkite News posted its first story from Gaylord last month about a prom dress that calls attention to missing and murdered indigenous women, now part of an exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Other stories that have been shared include the legacy of Indian boarding schools and the Cherokee Trail of Tears.

“This is just the beginning,” said Kristin Gilger, interim dean of the Cronkite School. “By combining forces and amplifying each other’s work, we can fill a gap in coverage that has persisted for way too long. We’re excited to see where this collaboration takes us.”

The Cronkite School and Gaylord College have worked together on a number of other programs supported by the Inasmuch Foundation, formerly the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation, established by Oklahoma journalist Edith Kinney Gaylord in 1982. The foundation provides fellowships for Cronkite and Gaylord students to participate in the national Carnegie-Knight News21 program headquartered at Cronkite and supports professorships at both schools.