7 July 2010

In a first for The University of Queensland School of Journalism and Communication Indigenous Voice project, student stories are being broadcast across the United States on the National Native News radio program.

Native American Journalists Association board member and National Native News Anchor, Antonia Gonzales is based in ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico, U.S.A overseeing the project.

"This is the first time I've used Skype and I never would have guessed it would be with a great group of people in Australia," she said.

"Teaming up with the Indigenous Voice project and working with the university students has been a wonderful addition to National Native News.

"This collaboration is important because the mission of NNN and Koahnic is to bring Indigenous voices and issues to the world.

"The series from the Indigenous Voice project has already received positive response from people across the United States.

"NNN receives reports from stringers around the world and I think the contribution from Australia will only continue to grow."

She traveled to Brisbane, Australia for the UNESCO World Press Freedom Day in May 2010, hosted by the University of Queensland, and the World Freedom Day Indigenous Voice Forum sponsored by UQ, Griffith and QUT universities.

The new ties enabled an exciting collaboration to occur just two months later with student content airing on National Native News: 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://www.nativenews.net

Ms Gonzales offered to consider Indigenous Voice student work covering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories for broadcast across the United States.

This week students communicated with Ms Gonzales in the USA via Skype pitching their stories and receiving immediate feedback from her while they were based in Brisbane in their St Lucia campus classroom.

UQ Journalism Student Peter de Kruijff said the opportunity to have content published in the USA was something he’d never expected.

“For a media outlet to publish my work, is phenomenal, let alone in the States,” he said.

“We’ve been interacting with the producer of National Native News over Skype and I don’t think I’ll really realise how big this is until I actually hear it as part of the program.”

Students from Griffith University and Queensland University of Technology are also participating in the Indigenous Voice NAIDOC project for the second consecutive year alongside UQ journalism students.

Stories generated feature profiles of Indigenous leaders and are centred around this year's NAIDOC theme 'Unsung Heroes - Closing the Gap by Leading The Way'.

Ingeborg Mate Holm from Griffith University said it was amazing to get the opportunity to get content aired in the US.

The project has also joined forces with the Musgrave Cultural Centre in Brisbane. Event manager Scott Anderson said he was delighted the students had embraced the project.

“It's just a great way for us to get our message out to people and for them to respond in a positive way,” he said.

Student stories have also been submitted for publication on SBS Aboriginal Radio, ABC Local Heroes, The Koori Mail, The Wire on 4EB and the National Indigenous Radio Service.

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

The project is funded by a UQ Teaching and Learning Strategic Grant with support from Griffith University and Queensland University of Technology.

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

Media Contacts:
Heather Stewart, Project Leader Indigenous Voice, heather.stewart@uq.edu.au 0418 830 938 or Jan King 0413 601 248
Antonia Gonzales, National Native News, Anchor/Producer, agonzales@nativenews.net 505-999-2404
Jeff Harjo, Native American Journalists Association, jharjo@ou.edu 406-325-6945

High resolution images by David Sproule of students participating in the Skype session are available for downloading from: http://omc.uq.edu.au/images/iv%20skype/