Integrity Score 882
No Records Found
No Records Found
There’s a “relative invisibility” of Native American experience in media, and the media representation that does exist is narrow -- it doesn’t reflect the diversity among the hundreds of cultures that exist in the United States, studies find.
More than half of national media coverage on Indigenous peoples in the U.S. used stereotypical terminology and relied on clichéd themes, according to a 2020 Media Spotlight Report by the Native American Journalists Association.
The surveyed content included continued use of dictionary-defined racial slurs in headlines, along with stereotypical themes of poverty and drug addiction. The stories put Indigenous people in the past and heavily relied on interviews with officials rather than talking to communities that were being directly impacted.
“Exposure to common media portrayals has been shown to have a harmful impact on Native American high school students’ feelings about themselves, their community and their academic possibilities,” Harvard Kennedy School reports.
American Indians and Alaska Natives made up about 2 percent of the total population in 2013, but the percentage of Native American characters in popular films, video games, and TV shows ranges from zero to 0.4 percent, content analyses find.
“The lack of accurate representation is heightened by the fact that the average U.S. resident experiences nearly no direct, daily interaction with Native Americans,” Harvard Kennedy School reports.
NAJA’s report analyzed 87 articles from five mainstream media outlets and found that less than seven percent of the articles were written by Indigenous reporters, calling into question inclusivity efforts in the newsrooms, which included The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Fox News.
“Ethical coverage is difficult at best when there is no one in the newsroom who can speak to the Indigenous experience,” NAJA reports.
NAJA’s developed a series of guides to assist newsrooms when covering Indian Country: https://najanewsroom.com/resources/