NAJA director visits Hopi High School

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By Stan Bindell
Polacca, Arizona (NFIC) May 2010

Jeff Harjo, executive director of the Native American Journalists Association, recently visited Hopi High School to tell students about scholarships and journalism camps that the association has available.

Harjo, a member of the Seminole Nation from Oklahoma, is based out of the University of Oklahoma at Norman. He has been with NAJA about three years and continues to increase their membership, which now stands at about 740.

Harjo urges students to get involved with many medias including newspaper, broadcast television, broadcast radio and web media.

“Learn many areas. Be prepared. It will make you more likely to get hired,” he said.

Harjo began his career in radio after earning a radio broadcast license in Nevada. Since that time he has worked as an engineer for television and radio stations as well as working as a newscaster for radio stations and serving as an editor for tribal newspapers.

He told the Hopi High journalism and radio broadcast students that NAJA offers summer camps that will give them a chance to get trained by professionals.             

He added that NAJA awards $35,000 to $40,000 per year to Native Americans who want to go to college for journalism, whether print or broadcast.

The maximum is $5,000 per year per student.

Harjo said that the economy has made it tough for NAJA to raise more funds. He said another one of NAJA’s goals is supporting freedom of the press.

NAJA has a journalism camp for high school and college students. Camps are offered in Minnesota from June 6-11 and June 13-18. Another camp is held July 21-24 in Minnesota. The camps are free for those who are accepted.