Sterling Cosper/Mvskoke Media Manager
Content priorities, stompdance issue and neutrality in covering Native news
OKMULGEE, Okla. — Hello again readers.
This letter comes to you a lot faster than the time window between the first one I wrote in 2013 and the one that ran just recently announcing my new position as manager.
Moving forward, I want to use this as a way to communicate about certain things at our department and also others, which may pertain to the editorial side that may not fit into a formal story format.
Also, I want to continue writing and must simply just miss the paper already!
For this letter, I want to focus on our process and policies for content submitted to the paper.
The basic policy is that this material cannot be more than 800 words and contributors must include their full name, town of residence and whether or not they are a Muscogee (Creek) citizen.
No content will be allowed that contains disparaging remarks or directly affects the political status of an individual at the tribe.
Submissions from non-citizens are acceptable but they are given priority after material submitted by citizens within the same general time window.
Contributions are generally placed after our ads, staff written content, material mandated for publication by tribal law, as well as community calendar and obituary entries, respectively.
Ads are placed first as citizens and those trying to reach them have paid for space in our paper to send their message. This is also general practice for most all publications.
Staff content is given second priority as this material typically has the broadest impact on our readers and generating content for our publication is why they were hired.
Material mandated for publication by tribal law is comprised of content such as tribal financials and court summons. This is prioritized in tandem with ads and staff content since it has a little flexibility to run in accordance with our schedule.
Community calendar submissions containing events and other information as well as obituaries are generally guaranteed to run in the next upcoming edition.
We dedicate a page or so for this material as an outlet for citizens to accommodate these generally shorter entries that are impactful on a grassroots level.
Submitted articles are generally placed as we have space after the previous content.
Keep in mind, we cannot simply add one page at a time to accommodate extra material but rather four, as this is how newspaper pages fold out into one on broadsheet.
It takes a substantial amount of time to fill this space on a tight semi-monthly production schedule.
While we may not be able to tell you exactly when your article will run given these facts, we should be able to give you a rough estimate based on our experience and the trends of material flow during that time.
But, this is an unpredictable business in so many ways.
Beyond all this, we do value contributions to our publication and wish to remain an outlet for citizens to directly share their opinions, experiences and whatever they feel is important.
If you have any more questions, our editor is the formal person to address these matters, however I can be reached at: 918-732-7697.
Right now, Media Coordinator Jessica McBride is doing a great job filling this role with support from our Graphics Supervisor Mark Hill, who is responsible for the recent facelift of the ‘Muscogee Nation News.’
Jessica can be reached at: 918-732-7762.
Did I mention we’re still looking for an editor?
Call me if you are or know of a Muscogee (Creek) or Native American citizen who is savvy with Associated Press style and Adobe InDesign. You may also email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have heard a lot about the recent halt of indoor and benefit stompdances by the tribal administration.
Mvskoke Media received a statement from Muscogee (Creek) Nation Attorney General Kevin Dellinger that this action is to allow time for input from both sides of the issue to establish a formal policy moving forward.
We would like to hear from these sides, so contact us if you or someone you know have been impacted by this development.
We have also done our best in the past to respect the silent tradition of the grounds and would like to remind readers that our coverage may be affected by who is willing to go on record.
On the national front, we continue to keep an eye on our cousins up at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota as they protest construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline near their territory.
While we have heard nothing from the federal government regarding a further decision on their temporary halt to the project, recent social media posts showed perhaps one of the largest clashes between protesters and law enforcement since the issue began earlier this year.
Our citizens continue to be involved up there and we have encouraged them to share their experiences with the rest of our readers.
More on the topic of submissions? Yes, but I would also like to share our editorial stance on staff coverage of topics such as this.
We know our audience is primarily Muscogee (Creek) and Native American. However, we intend to stick to our mission of staying fair and balanced.
I would like to remind our readers that the best way to deal with an opposing stance is to understand it.
The most effective way we can provide you that information is by staying neutral, as it would be awful hard to get someone from the other side of a matter on the line if they think we’re out to get them.
Well, enough musings for now. I hope the holidays have treated you well and to have some bigger more exciting things coming for you from Mvskoke Media as we move towards 2017!