|The University of Montana 2005 President's Report|
When Hurricane Katrina smashed into the Gulf Coast, television and newspapers kept us informed. But Reznet was the place to turn to learn about a young Mississippi couple that wound up relocating to a small Oklahoma town in Cherokee country, and how Montana's Fort Belknap Indian Reservation was donating 5,000 pounds of buffalo meat to victims.
It's the brainchild of UM journalism Associate Professor Denny McAuliffe, a former editor at the Washington Post. He's also a member of the Osage Tribe, one of just a handful of American Indians who work in the business.
Reznet -- an online news service written and photographed by American Indian college students from across the nation -- is helping to change that.
"Reznet is the school paper many of them don't have, or wouldn't be caught dead working for," McAuliffe says. "It gives them clips, so they can get internships, so they can get jobs."
Tetona Dunlap, an Eastern Shoshone from the Wind River Reservation of Wyoming, is a perfect example. Her photographs published on Reznet helped her land an internship at the Washington Post -- making her the first American Indian to win an internship there -- and that led to a full-time job at the Kansas City Star.
Reznet has 40 students from 31 tribes in 15 states who attend 25 different colleges, some of which do not offer journalism majors.
Funded largely by grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the four-year-old Reznet has helped 58 of the 70 American Indians who have worked for it obtain internships. All students are provided digital cameras and paid $50 per story or photo assignment, and former editors at papers such as the Los Angeles Times pore over their work before it is published.
"Reznet also has podcasts and daily blogs," McAuliffe says. "It's very cutting-edge."
Eight of the writers and photographers, like Adam Sings In The Timber, a Crow and Chippewa Cree from Billings, are students at UM's School of Journalism.
"Reznet gives me a voice," Sings In The Timber says. "People listen and hear us. It gives us confidence."
And the clips they'll need to land jobs. Reznet can be found at http://www.reznetnews.org.
Rita Munzenrider, Director
The University of Montana-Missoula
32 Campus Drive | Missoula, MT 59812
phone (406) 243-2522 | fax (406) 243-4520
© 2006 The University of Montana