April 23, 2008

Indians MIA at Newseum

Missing in actionDuring a media preview, Indian Country Today found exceptionally few representations of the Native press, especially in comparison to the museum's presentations focused on other minority media in the country.

Among the findings:

* The only examples of Native newspapers in the entire museum are located in pull-out drawers on a museum wall focused on the history of the U.S. and world press. Fewer than five Indian papers out of hundreds of historical U.S. publications are featured on the wall.

* Large displays highlight hundreds of contemporary world and foreign language newspapers, TV and radio shows, and Web sites, but no current tribal or national Native newspapers, Internet news sites, or broadcast endeavors are mentioned.

* No more than nine Native journalists, both historic and contemporary, are featured in displays and electronic exhibits at the museum. Scores of black, Latino and Asian journalists are featured, as are thousands of white journalists.

* Seven of the approximately nine Native journalists featured can only be found in an electronic names database.
Comment:  The author of this article e-mailed me about interviewing me, but didn't follow up.

As always, we should note that Indians make up only about 1% of the US population. We'd need more information before we could say with certainty that the Newseum has excluded Indians. For instance, if a display contains 495 non-Native newspapers and only five Native newspapers, that's arguably a fair representation of Native newspapers. The proportion of Native newspapers (1%) would be roughly equally to the proportion of Natives in the population.

For more on the subject, see Native Journalism:  To Tell the Truth.

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