FLAGSTAFF, AZ – Toni DeAztlan-Smith was selected to receive the Robert Knight Multicultural Recruitment Award from the Scholastic Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication for her work with the Andy Harvey Youth Broadcast Journalism Workshop hosted on the campus of Northern Arizona University every summer for high school students.
Jeff Browne, AEJMC Scholastic Journalism division head who managed the award selection states “this is exactly the kind of work that our division hoped to support with the Knight Award.”
DeAztlan-Smith (Mexica/Coahuiltecan), a former network television news producer whose work has aired on national programs including Dateline NBC, NBC’s TODAY show, CBSNews.com, and Channel One News, states “the mission of the workshop is to train indigenous youth to ‘Tell Your Story’ by providing training and tools. Students are empowered to make media in their communities and tell the stories that may go untold.”
Over 300 high schools in Arizona receive announcements encouraging their indigenous students to apply. DeAztlan-Smith has cultivated relationships with high school counselors and teachers at schools on reservations that primarily serve indigenous communities including Hopi Jr./Senior High School and Baboquivari High School in southern Arizona. In additional to high schools, DeAztlan-Smith also promotes the workshop in media communities including presenting at the annual Native Public Media Native Broadcast Summit and organizing a panel on minority-focused workshops at the Broadcast Educators Association conference.
Mentors and staff are primarily hired from a pool of past workshop attendees who are now in college or recently graduated from college. This means the majority of the staff are young Native Americans with extensive training in media production. DeAztlan-Smith’s goal is to build a pipeline of indigenous learners, teachers and leaders through the workshop.
According to DeAztlan-Smith, the workshop provides training in broadcast media but is also an introduction to university life for many of these students. The participants live on campus and lectures are arranged through the NAU orientation center for students interested in preparing for college. Workshop participants are given the frame of reference to know they can attend and succeed in a university program after high school.
“As founders, we envisioned that the Andy Harvey Workshop would lay the foundation of a strong media ecosystem focused on building the capacity of young people in journalism and broadcast so that Native Americans in Arizona would be able to tell their own stories. I am so proud of Toni DeAztlan-Smith for building this workshop into a program that will have a long and lasting positive effect for tribal peoples and our communities.”
DeAztlan-Smith will join a prestigious roster of former award recipients and will be honored during the 2019 AEJMC Conference in Toronto, Canada August 7—10, 2019.
Find more information about the Andy Harvey Youth Broadcast and Journalism Workshop here: https://www.facebook.com/NativeAmericanBroadcastWorkshop/