Rhonda LeValdo, chosen by fellow board members two years ago as president of the Native American Journalists Association, will serve a third term in the job, NAJA board members voted on Saturday. LeValdo teaches video production, news production and news writing at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kan.
Elected to the board without opposition were Mary Hudetz, west regional desk editor at the Associated Press and a member of the Crow tribe; Mark Dreadfulwater, media specialist at the Cherokee Phoenix in Tulsa, Okla., Cherokee; Rebecca Landsberry, Muscogee Nation news editor in the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Communications Department in Okmulgee, Okla., a Muscogee Creek; and Tetona Dunlap, a reporter and photographer at the Times-News in Twin Falls, Idaho, who is Eastern Shoshone.
Hudetz was chosen vice president; Neyom Friday, who covers Native American entertainment from her base in Florida, and who is Arapaho Creek, secretary; and Tristan Ahtone, a host and reporter for Wyoming Public Radio in Laramie, a Kiowa, treasurer.
NAJA is the smallest of the major journalist of color groups, with about 280 members, according to LeValdo. Its membership has declined, and in November Darla Leslie, who had defeated LeValdo for the presidency, resigned, saying on Facebook, "I believe NAJA is on the verge of financial ruin. My resignation is a reflection of the inability, in my opinion, of our Board of Directors to take immediate action to remedy this situation." LeValdo, who was vice president, returned to the presidency.
LeValdo said her priorities for the new term would be to increase membership, improve communication with members, offer more training for tribal newspapers that are not online and fundraising, in part to provide such training.
NAJA chose Phoenix as the site for its 2013 convention, LeValdo said.
The Asian American Journalists Association is hoping to forestall ending 2012 with a $129,991 deficit prompted in part by less-than-anticipated revenue, treasurer Rene Astudillo told the AAJA advisory board on Saturday.
Much depends on how much money the association nets from the Unity conference, Astudillo told Journal-isms. The association, which counts 1,675 members, projected 650 paid AAJA registrants, but there were only a little over 500.
Moreover, Astudillo said, expected levels of sponsorships for two signature AAJA programs, JCamp, which provides journalism training for high school students, and the Executive Leadership Program, which trains professionals, did not materialize.
On the other hand, AAJA raised $12,000 through its Silent Auction at the Unity convention, and its Power of One fundraising campaign, launched in 2008, continues. The association also raised $12,600 through a live auction of dinners donated by guest speaker Suvir Saran, chef and cookbook author, at Friday's awards banquet.
In other business, Tom Huang, Sunday and enterprise editor at the Dallas Morning News, said the model for annual conventions, the chief fund-raising vehicle for most of the journalist of color organizations, needs "reinventing." He is heading a committee that is brainstorming new ideas, such as capping attendance as a way to increase the value for those who register early; partnering with other organizations, including universities; shortening the length of the conference; and reorganizing panels into specialized tracks.
AAJA plans to be in New York for its 2013 convention. National President Doris Truong praised the quality of the Unity convention.
- Asian American Journalists Association: Media Advisory on Coverage of Sikh Temple Shooting [Aug. 5]