FLAGSTAFF, AZ – “College for all” is a mantra not often heard on many Tribal reservations. That’s one of the reasons why training in broadcasting for high school students is valuable. The Andy Harvey Broadcast and Journalism Workshop for Native American High School students is a program that introduces students to work with broadcast and computer equipment and software to which they might otherwise not have access to. For many of the Native students who are selected from Arizona’s twenty-two federally recognized Tribes, it is often their first introduction to broadcasting or journalism.
In radio and television, the requirements for broadcasters includes web editing skills, communications, public speaking, computer science, knowledge of regulatory rules and regulations, programming, content creation, and critical thinking skills just to name a few.
With sixty Native licensed radio and stations and four television stations serving Tribal communities across Indian Country, the need for trained broadcasters and journalists is on the rise.
“Eight years ago, a group of us got together to build a capacity pipeline into the field of communications for Native American youth. Historically, we were seeing very few Native students matriculating in schools of communication across Arizona’s three universities,” states Loris Taylor, President and CEO of Native Public Media.
The collaboration between Native Public Media, Northern Arizona University, the Arizona Broadcasters Association, and KTNN Navajo Radio, resulted in the creation of the Andy Harvey Broadcast and Journalism Workshop targeting high school students. The Program is named for Andy Harvey, a Navajo Tribal broadcaster who died not long after his broadcast career had taken off.
“The Native Broadcast Network has approximately 300 to 500 dedicated broadcast personnel. Most of these individuals learned about broadcast operations on-the-job. Many others volunteer at the station to get their feet wet in broadcast operations. We target high school students to get them thinking about college and to consider broadcasting and journalism as possible fields of study,” states Taylor.
After seven years, the Andy Harvey Program is beginning to see alumni of the Program return to serve as mentors and more high school students interested in broadcasting and journalism. Several of the students who are now in college have selected communications as their field of study.
“Investing into high school students takes time, commitment, and dedication. In this case, it will be several years before we see our first college graduates in communications. But the wait is a good wait because the Andy Harvey Program is not only opening educational doors, it is demonstrating that given the opportunity, Native young people will perform successfully in broadcast and journalism training programs,” concludes Taylor. Taylor was also instrumental in starting the broadcast and journalism class at the Hopi Junior-Senior High School when she was general manager of KUYI Radio.