© 2024 Aspen Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Mountain West News Bureau named collaborator for 2024-25 Health Equity Initiative cohort

Routine physical exams once involved fewer gloves, masks and other safety measures. Today, doctors' offices and hospitals are taking many more precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Joe Raedle, Getty Images
A palliative care doctor reassures a patient that she will do all she can to ease is pain and improve his comfort.

The Solutions Journalism Network and Indigenous Journalists Association have partnered to launch the 2024-25 Health Equity Initiative, a project to support newsrooms in covering issues of health equity through a solutions lens.

Over the course of a year, these newsrooms will gain a deep understanding of solutions journalism and use these skills to produce meaningful health coverage for and with their communities.

Through in-depth solutions reporting, these newsrooms will delve into stories of creativity, ingenuity and strength, as well as help their communities solve problems. The journalists accepted into the initiative have expressed interest in exploring the gaps in health care access, the impacts of toxic waste dumping on local communities, the effects of the opioid and fentanyl epidemic on youth, and the intersection of climate change and health.

The initiative welcomes four newsrooms and one journalism collaborative into the program:

Newsrooms will meet monthly over the course of a year, learning new skills that will help them dive into data and report and interact differently with their communities. “We are always diligently working to grow our skills and knowledge in order to best serve our citizens and uphold a storied legacy of Native journalism,” said Tyler Thomas, executive editor of Cherokee Phoenix. “To be part of this cohort will help us continue that mission.”
Newsrooms in the initiative will also receive support from Health Equity Initiative Leads Melissa Cassutt, SJN’s Rural Media Manager, and Christine Trudeau, journalist and IJA board president. “We are excited to support these Indigenous newsrooms in providing their communities with information they need to solve important problems,” Cassutt said.

“We're honored to support these illustrious newsrooms over the coming year,” Trudeau said. “These training partnerships are essential for advancing equity in coverage and reporting on our tribal communities.”

Meet the Newsrooms

Cherokee Phoenix

Cherokee Phoenix, which began publishing in 1828, is the first Native American Newspaper and is the official newspaper of one of the largest tribes in the United States. With support from this initiative, “we will be able to expand our reporting capabilities and help inform citizens on a variety of health trends and possible solutions as we move forward,” said Executive Editor Tyler Thomas.

Four Points Press

Four Points Press recruits and trains Indigenous journalists to tell the stories of the Crow Indian Reservation. It believes journalism is the natural evolution of Apsáalooke storytelling. Its independent newsroom is run by the nonprofit organization Four Points Media, which is dedicated to uplifting Indigenous voices.

Sho-Ban News

The Sho-Ban News is the weekly newspaper of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes located in Fort Hall, Idaho. The Sho-Ban News staff strives to tell the stories that honor its past, define its present and shape its future. “Solutions journalism will definitely help the Sho-Ban News staff as we are always open to learning new techniques and ideas in improving our work,” said Sho-Ban News Editor Lori Edmo.

Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate

“Our job as the voice for the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate is to ensure that our information and stories are being told from our own perspective,” said Digital Media Specialist Rachael German. “We take pride in the fact that our newsroom is run by our own people. We're excited to be a part of this initiative because it gives us a chance to broaden our knowledge to give better information and news to our people.”

Collaborative: Koahnic Broadcast Corp., Native Public Media and Mountain West News Bureau

Jaclyn Sallee, President & CEO of Koahnic Broadcast Corp., said that she is “honored that KNBA’s news team is accepted into the Indigenous Journalists Association and Solutions Journalism Network’s Health Equity program. The program will allow our team to increase the coverage of health issues that impact Indigenous people and communities.”

“This a significant step towards amplifying the voices and stories of Native American communities, particularly in addressing critical health disparities. Radio stories focused on Native American health increase awareness and underscore the importance of diverse experiences in public health,” said Loris Taylor, President of Native Public Media. “Through this initiative, the Bureau can shed light on the unique challenges Native communities face, fostering greater empathy, understanding, and, ultimately, meaningful change. Native Public Media applauds this partnership and looks forward to the impactful stories that will undoubtedly emerge from it.”

“We’re honored to partner with Native Public Media and Koahnic Broadcast to show how climate change affects tribal communities,” said Dave Rosenthal, Managing Editor of the Mountain West News Bureau. “The impact on public health often gets overlooked, but it’s a serious problem – especially in the West, where drought and extreme heat are a part of life. Listeners at our NPR affiliate stations are seeking opportunities to address these issues, and the guidance of the Indigenous Journalists Association and the Solutions Journalism Network will inform our storytelling.”

The Solutions Journalism Network is leading a global shift in journalism focused on advancing rigorous reporting about how people are trying to solve problems and what we can learn from their successes and failures. Learn more at SolutionsJournalism.org.

The Indigenous Journalists Association’s mission is centered on the idea that accurate and contextual reporting about Indigenous people and communities is necessary to overcome biases and stereotypes portrayed in popular and mainstream media. Expanding access to accurate news and information is essential to an informed citizenry and healthy democracy, across tribal, local, state and national levels. Learn more at IndigenousJournalists.org.