Cherokee Phoenix wins 2016 National Native Media Awards

08/31/2016 12:00 PM
NORMAN, Okla. – The 2016 National Native Media Awards were announced Aug. 29, and the Cherokee Phoenix, this country’s first Native American newspaper, won six awards, including first place in “Print - General Excellence.”

There were more than 600 entries across six divisions. The Cherokee Phoenix was in Professional Division III – Circulation above 10,000.

The monthly newspaper won first place for “Best Layout,” while Senior Reporter Will Chavez won first place in “Print/Online – Excellence in Beat Reporting” for his coverage of “Energy in Oklahoma.”

The coverage was on the controversial “Plains & Eastern” energy transmission line that would begin in the Oklahoma panhandle, cross Oklahoma and Arkansas and end in western Tennessee.

Cherokee Phoenix Special Correspondent Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton won first place in the “Print – Best News Story” category for her story “Caney Valley senior fights for eagle feather in graduation cap.” Chavez won second place in that category for his story “Cherokee speakers worried about language’s state.” Krehbiel-Burton also took third place in that category for her story “Dusten Brown urges revisions to ICWA.”

“Within the first few days of my tenure as editor of the Cherokee Phoenix I knew we had some incredibly talented individuals under our roof.” Executive Editor Brandon Scott said. “I, myself, am extremely honored to have such dedicated journalists on the Cherokee Phoenix staff, and the awards received from NAJA just solidify my belief that we have some of the best journalists in the field.”

Cherokee Nation citizen Steve Russell won first place in the “Online – Best Editorial” category for his column in the newspaper Indian Country Today titled “The Oregon Standoff and the Cowboy Lawyers.” He also won second place in the “Online – Daily/Weekly Best Column” category for his column “The untrustworthy feds teach Natives about trust.” And CN citizen Graham L. Brewer of The Oklahoman won second place in the “Print-Online – Excellence in Beat Reporting” category for his coverage “Criminal justice in the state of Oklahoma.”

CN citizen Jennifer Loren won first place in the “TV – Best Feature Story – Monthly/Semimonthly” category for a story on Cherokee radio host Dennis Sixkiller. She also won third place in that category for a story on wild onions. Both stories were produced for the television show Osiyo TV.

Osiyo TV also won second place in the “TV – General Excellence” category.

Loren also won first place in the “TV – Best News Story” category for the story “Saving Cane” and third place in the same category for the story “Cherokee Warriors.”

The Native American Journalists Association will award more than 200 National Native Media Awards recognizing members’ coverage of Indian Country during the 2016 NAJA Media Awards Banquet on Sept. 20 in New Orleans. The annual competition recognizes excellence in reporting by Native and non-Native journalists across the U.S. and Canada.

For a list of all the awards, visit


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