So You’re Covering Indian Country? Here’s Some Tips

Look for the upcoming The Indian Country Stylebook for Editors, Writers and Journalists, by Gabe Galanda, Jackie Jacobs, Amber Penn-Roco, and Richard Walker. Cover art by Louie Gong. Coming soon on Kindle.

I also highly recommend reading, “Shoot the Indian: Media, Misperception and Native Truth,” available at your library or on Amazon.

As part of its mission, the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) encourages responsible, informed coverage of Native Americans. For more information about covering tribal communities, including questions of sovereignty, reservations and a tribal directory, NAJA’s resource guide, “100 Questions, 500 Nations,” is available for purchase for $10 at their online store:

The Harvard Kennedy School’s SHORENSTEIN CENTER Journalist’s Resource includes a page on Native Americans: Negative impacts of media portrayals, stereotypes here.

Rob McDonald, communications director at the Confederated Tribes of the Salish and Kootenai who left a 15-year career working at daily newspapers, most recently, The Spokesman Review in Spokane, Wash., spoke to this at a panel I organized for the Society of Environmental Journalists 20th annual conference. Listen to Rob’s comments here.

Speaking of the Society of Environmental Journalists, their diversity committee put together an outstanding Guide to Diversity in Environmental Reporting. Download the PDF (3.69 MB) or view, share and download here.

A Reporting in Indigenous Communities guide is written from an Aboriginal Canadian reporter’s perspective with input from others, but it covers Indian Country, too. The checklist, here,, links to the full guide.

Nieman Reports: Covering Indian Country: Includes such articles as How an Outsider Gets In: Relying on decades of experience, a journalist provides valuable reporting tips; Challenges Native and Non-Native Journalists Confront: Those who tell Indian people’s stories are expected to be ‘truthful, accurate, responsible, and excellent communicators.’

Reporters Committee on Freedom of the Press: Tips for reporters covering American Indian issues.

The Society of Professional Journalists’ Rainbow Sourcebook makes it easy to broaden sourcing beyond the narrow demographic band usually found in the news. Search this database by common news topics to find qualified experts contributed by fellow journalists.

This is an evolving page. Check back periodically for more.