Maynard: Mainstream media's spotty coverage of tribal issues

"Other than stories about poverty and crime on reservations, mainstream media coverage of Native Americans and issues they confront is often steeped in stereotypes that portray Indians as lawless and living in the distant past.

While large media outlets such as The New York Times and The Associated Press sometimes have the resources to research and produce comprehensive stories, Native Americans must rely largely on tribal newspapers and alternative outlets for content about themselves and their communities.

Mary Hudetz, a member of the Crow Tribe of Montana, an AP editor in Phoenix and a board member of the Native American Journalists Association, says lack of time and resources at media outlets contribute to fewer stories about Natives. In particular, she cites lack of reporting on how health care reform will impact them and lack of reporting in general, particularly in Indian Country and on reservations.

Moreover, Hudetz says, the mainstream media largely handle tribal governments gently, in part because the open-government laws that allow reporters to hold entities accountable don’t apply to sovereign tribal governments. “The freedom of information laws aren’t there, or they’re not as strong,” Hudetz said in a phone interview, “so that’s one reason there isn’t as much coverage.”"

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Mainstream Media’s Spotty Coverage of Native America (Maynard Media Center on Structural Integrity 8/30)

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