FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.-Less than 2 percent of American broadcasters are Native Americans and those numbers aren't getting much better with few young Native Americans going into broadcasting.
But Northern Arizona University's (NAU) Broadcasting Department and the Arizona Broadcasters Association hope to change that fact. The second annual NAU Native American Broadcast Camp took place June 16-22 at NAU. The camp helps give Native American high school students the skills, motivation and knowledge they need to go into broadcasting careers.
The NAU Broadcast Camp curriculum included teaching students how to use TV and radio equipment, how to write scripts for TV and radio, how to interview people, how to shoot videos and how to edit for TV and radio as well as for cinematography.
Three Hopi High School students were among the 15 students who attended the broadcast camp.
Christina Rucker, who recently graduated from Hopi High, said she enjoyed the camp because she learned more about making videos.
"I learned a lot of specifics, like how to do the lighting," she said.
Rucker, who hopes to major in broadcast journalism at NAU, said she enjoyed meeting new people and staying in the dorms because she was treated like a college student. One day of the camp included a trip to Phoenix so the students could visit Channel 12 and KTAR radio.
"It was fun meeting all the anchors and news people," she said.
Rucker, who has won state broadcasting awards from the Arizona Interscholastic Press Association for the past three years, said the broadcast camp makes her want to do a lot more with a news career.
"The broadcast camp was a great experience. I met new people and they gave me an iPad," she said.
Quinten Ramirez, a junior at Hopi High, said the broadcast camp was great.
"It was a mind-blowing, hands-on experience with cameras, lighting and interviewing," he said. "But the most important lesson I learned at the camp was follow your passion and dreams and never give up in life."
Ramirez also enjoyed the trip to Channel 12.
"I liked seeing the clips behind the scenes and meeting everybody here," he said. "The camp makes me want to go out and do some filming. I want to film my family and I'm considering majoring in filmmaking."
Ramirez said the broadcast camp would have been improved if there were more students. He also feels that there needs to be more representation of Native Americans in the news industry.
Ashlee Craig, a sophomore at the New School for the Arts in Tempe, said the broadcast camp was great because the students learned a little bit about everything including writing scripts and different film shots.
"All the kids here were cool," she said.
Craig, who is Apache, said she enjoyed learning about the different media including film, commercials, public service announcements, television and radio.
"My favorite part was going on the radio and talking in different voices and tones to grab attention," she said. "It was also fun editing the music."
Craig said the broadcast camp would be improved if more students and professionals were involved. She also feels that Native Americans are misrepresented in the media. She is most interested in cinematography.
"It would be cool to start doing films about our great ancestors and talk about the evil of people who slaughtered us," she said.
Craig said she would recommend the broadcast camp to other students because the students had a chance to learn from each other while meeting great role models.
"It also gave us a taste of the college life and the adventures of adulthood," she said.
Art Brooks, president of the Arizona Broadcasters Association (ABA), said ABA and NAU started planning the broadcast camps six years ago.
"We expect this to live for a long time," he said. "I speak on behalf of all the TV and radio stations in the state when I say this is an honor for the industry."
Patty Talahongva, keynote speaker for the closing luncheon, spoke about how she became involved in the news business when she was 17 and quickly worked her way up.
"Broadcasting is changing," she said in reference to technology. "Smartphones are your studios. You can write scripts, take photos, shoot videos and post it from your Smartphone."
Talahongva urged the students to become fluent speakers and writers before developing their own styles.
"You won't go anywhere without correct spelling and speaking," she said. "If you're not on the table, you're on the menu."
Loris Taylor, president of Native Public Media, commended the students on their videos. She said there are 300 Native American workers in radio, but more are needed for their associated radio stations.
The students at the broadcast camp shot public service announcement videos about preventing bullying, making good decisions and preserving language.
The students who attended the workshop are Megan Babbitt from Flagstaff High School, Clark Chee from Tuba City High School, Ashlee Craig from the New School for the Performing Arts in Tempe, Jania DeChilly from St. Michaels, Tayla Hawkins from Blue Ridge, Ezikiel Holm from Ironwood Ridge, Shawn Hongeva from Coconino High School, Detroit James from Hopi High, Michaelea Nez from St. Michaels, Lanachia Portillo from Kofa High School, Quinten Ramirez from Hopi High, Kristen Reeves from Tonapah High School, Kyle Roanhorse from Chandler Community College, Christina Rucker from Hopi High and Quindrea Yazzie from St. Michaels.
The staff included Workshop Director Paul Helford, Mardi Devolites, Jeremy Scott, Alex Leefers, Kyle Hobson, Melanie Begaye, Asaiah Lavender and Allisa Wolken.
The sponsors included the Arizona Broadcasters Association, National Association of Broadcasters, Gannett Foundation, NAU's Native American Cultural Center, Native Public Media and KTNN radio station.
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