Native Sun News: Paper brings home four first place awards

The following story was written and reported by Native Sun News Staff. All content © Native Sun News.

4 first place awards for NSN
Newspaper wins total of 11 awards at South Dakota Newspaper Association meeting
By Native Sun News Staff

PIERRE — The South Dakota Newspaper Association’s annual conference brings together the top journalists and news outlets from around the state each year. It is also where the top talent is recognized through the annual newspaper awards given to the best writers, photographers, editors, and newspapers. This year Native Sun News took home 11 awards, three times the number of any other Native newspaper.

Going in to its sixth year of existence Native Sun News has established itself as the primary source for news about Native American issues in the Northern Plains and as one of the only reliable media outlets covering Indian issues nationally.

Editor and Publisher Tim Giago took a first place award for his editorial about the need for a Native American Holocaust Museum at Wounded Knee. “Editorials express the heart and soul of a newspaper and I felt very strongly that a museum to commemorate the innocents slaughtered at Wounded Knee was long overdue,” said Giago.

The winning did not stop there as NSN’s Health and Environmental Editor, Talli Nauman, made it a three-peat with her double wins for her work on uranium mining in the Black Hills and on the Keystone XL Pipeline Her double wins highlighted the progress of energy giant Powertech to construct new mines in and around the Black Hills and the efforts of both Native and non-Native opposition to stop it. Her articles on the XL pipeline began in 2009, years before the mainstream media took an interest in the story.

Over the course of the past year NSN has revamped its sports section with the recruitment of South Dakota State University graduate and journalism major David “Bull Dawg” Michaud. In addition a conscious effort has been made by NSN managing editor Brandon Ecoffey to contribute more content to the section. The result has been that NSN has become the trendsetter in the field with other Native media outlets attempting to model their pages after NSN’s. This past weekend the revamping of the sports page was recognized by the American Newspaper Association whose members judged the contest.

Two awards were won by NSN in the sports category. Brandon Ecoffey won a third place for his column on the Lakota Nation Invitational and he also won a second place for Best Sports series for his work on Native American Mixed Martial Arts. Ecoffey would also win another third place award for the highly competitive category of Best News Story for his report on changes in federal sentencing policies for non-violent offenders.

In the category of General Excellence that judges the overall quality of a newspaper, NSN took home the highest place it has won in its five years of existence. Amongst the large weekly newspapers in South Dakota Native Sun News took home the second place trophy.

NSN also received four advertising awards at the contest one for Denise Giago and two for Stephanie Swanson in the production department. The first place award for in-house promotional advertising went to the production staff.

“I think that the number of awards that were given out to Native Sun News is a hard earned recognition of the people who work here at the paper and an indicator of the direction we are headed,” said Ecoffey “In an industry where many papers are struggling to stay afloat we are still growing and recruiting the top columnists and journalists from around Indian Country. Quality news is at a premium these days with the advent of unverifiable blogs that lack the credibility of a traditional paper and many of our elderly Lakota people still love to hold a newspaper in their hands to read.”

Next month Native Sun News will be moving to new offices on Jackson Blvd. and the paper will begin its national expansion, but it will also have people on staff from the local Indian reservations who will keep their hands on the till of the local happenings. “I built Indian Country Today into the biggest and best Indian newspaper in America and since I sold it in 1998, ICT went entirely digital and they have lost 90 percent of their readership in the Northern Plains. Native Sun News intends to not only fill that gap, but to exceed it,” Giago said.

(NSN staff can be reached at

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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