Cherokee Phoenix editor makes E&P 25 Under 35 list
Cherokee Phoenix Executive Editor Thomas, with his wife, Madison, and their daughters, Chandler and Evan, stand in front of the printing press used by the Cherokee Advocate (the last edition was printed on the press in 1906). The press is on loan from the Gilcrease Museum to the Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum in Tahlequah. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Phoenix Executive Editor Tyler Thomas has made Editor & Publisher’s 2020 list of 25 Under 35, which showcases skills and talents taking place in newsrooms around the world.
Thomas, who earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma, said it was an honor to be named to the list and to represent the Cherokee Phoenix.
“The Cherokee Phoenix has an extensive history of innovation, and our team is continuing that tradition as we try to diversify our methods of news delivery so that all Cherokees have information at their fingertips,” he said. “It is always assuring to have your team’s efforts affirmed by such a prestigious organization. I thank E&P for the recognition of not only myself, but our newspaper.”
The 31-year-old Cherokee Nation citizen also answered questions for the publication:
What advice do you have for other young professionals in the news industry?
“Pursue your passion. Before starting college, I never imagined I would be in journalism, let alone leading the first Native American newspaper in history. But, as I grew and matured, my passion for my heritage and people did as well, and now I am able to use that passion to continue a tradition at the Cherokee Phoenix that empowers and improves the lives of Cherokee people.
Through our storytelling, reporting, photography, videography and more, we, at the Phoenix, not only have the opportunity to inform and educate, but also hold our government and other governments accountable, just as our founder, Elias Boudinot, did when he began publishing the paper in 1828. That is a responsibility and legacy that I do not take lightly and am dedicated to upholding. So my advice to young professionals is to find your passion and then work tirelessly to fulfill that passion.”
In what ways are you moving your newspaper into the future?
“In 2020, the Phoenix is focused on developing and diversifying its digital products and distribution methods. We are currently creating the newspaper’s first podcast that will focus on the latest issues facing the Cherokee Nation and Indian Country as well as highlight the tribe’s vibrant culture, rich history and beautiful people. With the rising popularity of podcasts, particularly with younger demographics, our podcast will provide an opportunity to engage that audience and enhance and expand on our traditional print outreach. The redesign of our website and development of a mobile app is also a priority this year. We want to make our content and information the most accessible it possibly can be so that all Cherokees have needed information at their fingertips.”
E&P officials suggested news veterans study the advice Thomas and other young professionals who made the list offer.
“No matter what age we are, their responses are filled with positivity and encouragement that we could all hear right now,” E&P officials said. “Yes, they understand the challenges facing our industry, but they’re not admitting defeat. They’re pushing the industry forward with diverse ideas, creative innovation and intelligent vision. Our future is better because of it.”