OUR STORIES | Jamie Keith: Getting local Native American news to a broader audience


Jamie Keith grew up on Navajo and Hopi Reservations in Arizona, and works for the Minnesota Youth Council. She’s an active volunteer, working with the Ginew/Golden Eagles program at the Minneapolis American Indian Center, and volunteering in other youth-related programs in St. Paul.

The fall cohort of Media Skills Fellows, funded by the Bush Foundation, completed ten weeks of intensive learning on November 14, with the ripple effects already spreading out into various Twin Cities communities. The fellowship program focused on improving media skills with the specific goal of using these skills for better communication in/about/on behalf of each participant’s community. This article is one of several articles introducing the fall cohort of Media Skills Fellows and what they learned and accomplished.

As a free-lance writer for The Circle, Jamie came to the Media Skills Fellows with journalism experience, and built on that through learning more about social media platforms. Reflecting on her experience, she wrote:

Writing for the TC Daily Planet has expanded my ability to not only cover local Native American news, but get that news out to a broader audience than just the readership of The Circle Native American newspaper. I think it is important that indigenous news and thought reaches beyond just the small niche of people that follow our publication, and this fellowship has given me a way to do that.

As part of her work for the Media Skills Fellowship, she developed a social media curriculum for youth to use with the Minnesota Youth Council — and possibly other organizations.

In her first article for the TC Daily Planet, Jamie profiled Lupe Thornhill, an Ojibwe youth from St. Paul. Reflecting on that experience, Jamie said she had come to realize “the impact a relationship can have with someone you are profiling or covering in your piece.” She noted that youth of color in the school system may be told they don’t now what they are talking about, and are not asked for their opinions about curriculum. In contrast, the article gave her as the interviewer and Lupe as the interviewee, the opportunity “to have that conversation and put it out in a positive light and have community and family members interact with her on Facebook about it. I saw how it was empowering to individual to get the story out there … “

Reporting for this article supported in part by Bush Foundation.