Today I have some news about the news.
This is Trahant Reports.
Last fall Indian Country Today went on hiatus.
This is a newspaper with a rich history.
It was started in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, by Tim Giago on July 1, 1981, as The Lakota Times. The newspaper soon became the largest weekly in the state. As Giago wrote: “For the first time in the history of the state an Indian-owned newspaper began to take a close look at the lives of the Native people.” He said as the newspaper grew into a national publication and his staff held a contest, and Avis Little Eagle came up with the name, Indian Country Today.
The paper was sold to the Oneida Nation in 1988 and the publication was moved to New York, eventually landing in New York City. Indian Country Today was a newspaper, a magazine, and a media network.
Last year the Oneida Nation said the changing media landscape meant it could not continue its operations and Indian Country Today went into hiatus. Then the Oneida Nation donated the assets to the National Congress of American Indians.
Now, I have been tasked with rebuilding this news organization.
Here’s the thing: When Indian Country Today was not producing content, writing stories, posting photographs, and such, there remained huge interest from readers. A lot of readers — some 500,000 a month online.
That’s amazing to me. And it’s a solid reason to gear up again. We have much to report.
So on June 4 Indian Country Today will officially unveil a new digital platform and an updated logo. We will do this at the National Congress of American Indians’ Mid-Year Conference and Marketplace in Kansas City, Missouri.
The new Indian Country Today is public media. That means our task is service, so we will be working even closer with other media organizations such as Native Voice One. You should expect more content.
Indian Country Today is ready for its next chapter too, leading in the digital, mobile space.
I remember as a young man mailing tribal newspapers to readers across the country. And, I also waited at the post office for other papers. I’d get a clump of papers, sometimes rolled up as tube, but full of news.
Now the “paper” is digital, multimedia and instant. Our primary focus will be the mobile phone, a platform where our readers are already migrating.
But in the end it’s about the stories we tell. Stories about people doing interesting things. Stories about elections — there is a big one in Idaho this week — and about public policy choices that impact our lives. There are so many stories that will not be told by the national media. No matter. Indian Country can do our own. And we will. Stay tuned.
I am Mark Trahant.