June 21, 2013

Native media limited at Lone Ranger premiere

Disney courts Indian Country, ignores Native media

NAJA supports inclusion of diverse media in coverage of "The Lone Ranger"The Native American Journalists Association was informed that press junkets associated with the premiere of the movie "The Lone Ranger" have been well attended by journalists but not by Native journalists.

While Disney has attempted to reach out to Native American audiences with the film, they have curiously forgotten to invite media from Indian Country to cover it.

National Native News, a national Native American radio program based in Albuquerque, N.M., made several requests for access to a press event in Santa Fe, N.M., June 19, however, these were not granted. Disney did issue a response to NNN at the conclusion of the event.

A large portion of the film was shot on the Navajo Nation. While some Native media groups were contacted about attending the film's premiere in Oklahoma, the New Mexico premiere has Native media groups that should have also been included in press events. New Mexico is home to 22 tribes, nations and Pueblos, as well as many NAJA members and Native reporters.
Native media deserves more than sidekick role

By Sarah GustavusIt has been widely reported that Johnny Depp, in his role as Tonto in the new film “The Lone Ranger,” wants to challenge stereotypes about Native Americans, but Native media was limited to the role of sidekick to other media outlets this week.

The staff of Native America Calling and National Native News, produced by Koahnic Broadcast Corporation (a New Mexico In Depth partner), have reported on the progression of the film in recent years. In the past month, our staff went through the proper channels to request interviews with the cast and crew for our coverage of the official release of “The Lone Ranger.” Our repeated requests were either passed on to other Disney contacts or received no response.

It was a complete surprise to learn on Monday that a major press junket was taking place only an hour from our studios, in Santa Fe. We were not invited, but immediately requested press credentials. Our staff received a response from Disney after the press conference saying we could not be accommodated for the event because it was over.

Our staff also requested access to the film’s premiere in Los Angeles. An exclusive event tied to the premiere will raise funds for the American Indian College Fund, but our requests for media access were not immediately granted.
Comment:  Simon Moya-Smith, a columnist for Indian Country Today, was at the premiere. As far as I know, he was the only Native journalist there.

This is for a movie starring a Native character, remember. Do you think Disney would limit the black media at a movie about a black scientist, sports hero, or slave? I doubt it.

For more on Johnny Depp, see Depp Keeps His Ancestry Ambiguous and Skyhawk: Depp Is A Charlatan.

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