indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Tim Giago: Remembering Al Neuharth, South Dakota newsman

Filed Under: Opinion
More on: al neuharth, media, south dakota, tim giago
   

Notes from Indian Country
By Tim Giago, Nanwica Kciji
© Unity South Dakota

A man dressed in black and silver approached me at a newspaper convention in San Francisco 30 years ago. He held out his hand and said, “Hi, Tim; I’m Al Neuharth and I also am from South Dakota.”

That was the first time I met the man who would go on to found USA Today. He told me then that, as a consummate newsman, he had been following the progress of the weekly newspaper I had started on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1981 and offered his encouragement. He said, “Sometime, down the road, come and visit me.”

And a few years later after we had formed the Native American Journalists Association in 1984, we were looking for the funds to get it off of the ground and Al came to mind. I contacted him and he pointed me to a man named Gerald Sasse with the Gannett Foundation. Al was then the head of the Gannet Foundation.

Loren Tapahe of the Navajo Times and I went to Rochester, N.Y. and met with Mr. Sasse and with his help we secured the funds given to us in Gannett stock worth $85,000 to put the organization on firm footing and to stage the very first convention on the Warm Springs Nation in Oregon.

The Gannett Foundation had also been instrumental in funding the very first meeting of aspiring Native American journalists at Penn State, hosted by Journalism Professor, William Dulaney. Prof. Delaney stuck with us through our formative years and again, through Gannett, secured us the funds to hold our first organizational meeting on the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma in 1984. I spoke to Prof. Dulaney a few weeks ago and he informed me that he only has a few months to live. He has cancer of the brain.

All of the help from the Gannett Foundation would not have happened without Al Neuharth in the background pulling the strings. He was our featured speaker at our second convention held in Scottsdale, AZ. Not only did he speak, he also brought us another substantial check. By that time he had retired from the Gannett Newspaper Group and was now the head of the Freedom Forum, a foundation that replaced the Gannett Foundation.

When Al formed his first Advisory Board for the Freedom Forum he called me and asked me to serve on that board which I gladly did for a few years. It was at the board meetings when I met privately with Al and encouraged him to start a seminar to host young Native Americans to encourage them to pursue careers in journalism. He followed through and started the Journalism Workshop for aspiring Native American high school journalists at Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota. He followed this up by holding an annual intensive journalism workshop for older Native American journalists at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.

Al came to Rapid City and visited my newspaper, Lakota Times, in the late 1980s. He asked me what I needed to help the newspaper grow and I told him I needed funds for a printing press. A few weeks later he sent me a check to purchase my first printing press.

Always an optimist, Al made it a point to send out Happy New Year’s cards to his friends every year and I was fortunate to be on his list. Ironically the card he sent me for Happy New Year 2013 got lost in the mail and I finally received it in April 2103, this month. It was a photo of Al on the beach at his home in Florida surrounded by his entire family. He was dressed in his signature black as always. The card read simply “The Al Neuharth and Rachel Fornes Family.”

I immediately sent him a “Thank you” note and he received it just a few days before his death.

Native newspaper men and women and Native journalists across America lost one of their best friends. Neuharth grew up in the small South Dakota town of Alpena and he never forgot his roots, nor did he ever forget the Native Americans that made up a large portion of the State’s population. We owe him much.

I remember having the opportunity to introduce Al at the NAJA Convention in Scottsdale, AZ. I read from the long list of his life’s accomplishments, a list that went on and on, and then turned the podium over to him. He took the mike and said, “Thanks Tim for the great introduction, but it was kind of short wasn’t it.”

That was Allen Neuharth, a South Dakota boy who made good, but never lost his sense of humor. He will be missed greatly by every Native American journalist in America.

Tim Giago, an Oglala Lakota, was born, raised and educated on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard in the Class of 1991. He was inducted into the South Dakota Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2007. He can be reached at Unitysodak1@knology.net


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Violence against Native women is on the rise (10/24)
Morgan Howard: Corporate dividends confict with Tlingit values (10/24)
David Wilkins: Abandon the Doctrine of Discovery in Indian law (10/24)
Navajo Nation candidate Chris Deschene won't halt campaign (10/24)
Tribes receive $1.2M in Sovereignty in Indian Education funds (10/24)
Language preservation a top issue as AFN opens annual meet (10/24)
Rep. Don Young to speak to Alaska Natives amid controversy (10/24)
Think Progress: South Dakota county suppresses Native vote (10/24)
Opinion: Tribes turn their acumen to Internet lending industry (10/24)
Chickasaw Nation signs compact with state for license plates (10/24)
Federal judge won't be removed from Miccosukee Tribe's case (10/24)
Radio: NPS allowed destruction of tribal burial mounds in Iowa (10/24)
BIA announces intent to put Cowlitz Tribe gaming site in trust (10/24)
Feinstein opposes North Fork Rancheria off-reservation casino (10/24)
Salt River Tribe arrests man who left children in casino garage (10/24)
Closure of Chukchansi Tribe's casino could affect contributions (10/24)
Opinion: Shinnecock Nation's casino plans remain under cloud (10/24)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe heads to election season (10/23)
Al Caroll: Recognize tribal sovereignty in new US Constitution (10/23)
Michael Baines: Senate candidate battles Alaska Native rights (10/23)
President Barack Obama urges early voting for Alaska Natives (10/23)
Ho-Chunk Nation woman named president of Girl Scouts board (10/23)
3rd Circuit won't force town to repatriate Jim Thorpe's remains (10/23)
Navajo Nation's top court orders new ballots without candidate (10/23)
Alaska Federation of Natives ready to open annual convention (10/23)
Alaska governor to sign Native languages bill six months later (10/23)
Rep. Don Young blames government 'largesse' for suicide rate (10/23)
Washington player says tattoo represents Cherokee heritage (10/23)
Crow Tribe seeks renewal of Indian Coal Production Tax Credit (10/23)
Native advocates come together to combat domestic violence (10/23)
Agua Caliente Band and DOJ submit briefs in water rights case (10/23)
Former health executive from Chippewa Cree Tribe sentenced (10/23)
Final person sentenced in theft from Blackfeet Nation program (10/23)
Opinion: Tribes exploit loopholes in America's political system (10/23)
Otoe-Missouria Tribe announces plans for new gaming facility (10/23)
Rival leaders of Chukchansi Tribe to meet amid casino closure (10/23)
Navajo Nation challenges lawsuit over death of casino patron (10/23)
Law Article: Judge restricts BIA authority in Class III dispute (10/23)
Column: Election won't end North Fork off-reservation casino (10/23)
Eyapaha Today: Oneida singer follows in mother's footsteps (10/22)
Native Sun News: Candidate seeks investigation into program (10/22)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.