9 April 2010

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico, U.S.A. - Native American Journalists Association board member and National Native News Anchor, Antonia Gonzales is travelling to Brisbane, Australia for the UNESCO World Press Freedom Day 2010, hosted by The University of Queensland, and the World Freedom Day Indigenous Voice Forum.

On Saturday, May 1, 2010, Gonzales will join other Indigenous journalists from around the world on the panel Indigenous Voice Closing the Gap Forum.

The Navajo tribal member will talk about reporting on Indigenous issues, freedom of the press in Indian Country and challenges facing Native journalists – past and present.

She will also take part in Indigenous Voice project workshops and interact with Indigenous students at The University of Queensland School of Journalism and Communication.

“It’s an honor to be invited to this event and share the important work Native journalists from the United States do daily to get the voice of Indian Country heard. And I thank NAJA for its support,” said Gonzales.

The event exposes NAJA on an international level and establishes a relationship for NAJA to partner with other Indigenous organisations, media outlets and educational institutions for future research and educational projects.

“We, as Natives of America, have historically regarded the spoken word to be always truthful. Within the last 300 years, we have evolved, but still hold the printed word in the same high regard,” said NAJA President Ronnie Washines.

“Creator has provided Antonia an opportunity to interact with other continental Indigenous journalists in an insightful, powerful and positive forum.”

Indigenous Voice Project Leader (School of Journalism and Communication, The University of Queensland) Heather Stewart said: “The issues we are addressing are global."

"Journalism educators are working on enhancing their teaching programs to arm the next generation of journalists with skills to cover Indigenous Issues in an informed way," she said.

"Media organisations are grappling with increasing representation of Indigenous Media workers on staff and analysing content with a view to improving Indigenous issues coverage.

"The contribution from Antonia Gonzales from NNN, Susan Moylan-Coombs from the ABC, Michelle Lovegrove from SBS and Duncan McCue from CBC will provide unique insights into what it is like to be an Indigenous Broadcaster in 2010.

"They will share their personal experiences and challenges and the significance they play as mentors to other Indigenous broadcasters.

"The support for this forum indicates the timing is right to get key people together to share knowledge, network and collaborate on ways to make a better future in terms of Indigenous employment in the media, improved journalism education and coverage of Indigenous issues.”

Conference Convenor, Associate Professor Martin Hadlow of the UQ School of Journalism and Communication said: “We are delighted that the global UNESCO World Press Freedom Day event is being used as a platform for enabling Indigenous media professionals from all over the world to gather and discuss issues of mutual interest and concern.

"The Indigenous Voice Forum is a critically important part of the three-day conference and the outcomes can only be positive in further nourishing a respect for cultural and societal values, not to mention identifying the specific needs of indigenous broadcasters and journalists internationally.”

Media Contact:
Antonia Gonzales, National Native News, Anchor/Producer, agonzales@nativenews.net
Jeff Harjo, Native American Journalists Association, jharjo@ou.edu
Heather Stewart, Project Leader Indigenous Voice, heather.stewart@uq.edu.au
0418 830 938

On the Net:
World Press Freedom Day 2010, www.wpfd2010.org
Indigenous Voice, http://indigenousvoice.com.au
Native American Journalists Association, http://naja.com
National Native News, http://www.nativenews.net

National Native News is a five-minute nationally syndicated radio program that focuses on the social, economic, political and cultural issues of Indigenous people around the world. NNN is carried on tribal and public radio stations across the United States and Canada. NNN is produced in Albuquerque, New Mexico and owned by Koahnic Broadcast Corporation with offices in Anchorage, Alaska. More information can be found online at http://ww.nativenews.net

The Native American Journalists Association serves and empowers Native journalists through programs and actions designed to enrich journalism and promote Native cultures. The NAJA office is located at the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College in Norman, Oklahoma. More information can be found online at http://www.naja.com

Indigenous Voice is a project run by the University of Queensland School of Journalism and Communication to develop cross cultural awareness, investigate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander journalism and communication student intake, retention and graduate outcomes and develop resources for journalism students about covering Indigenous issues under the guidance of the UQ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit and Education and Industry Media partners. More information can be found online at www.indigenousvoice.com.au

Valued sponsors:
Griffith University
Queensland University of Technology