Editorial board remains vacant

Editorial board remains vacant
(Shutterstock) Obligations to ensure press freedoms remain unfulfilled as the deadline to set an editorial board as is called for in NCA 19-031 passes.  To date no nominations have been presented to fill the board positions.

Angel Ellis/Reporter

No board to hold up Mvskoke Media shield

OKMULGEE, Oklahoma —Editorial staff for Mvskoke Media remain unshielded in operations as a key component of the “Shield Act,” the editorial board remains vacant despite legally defined deadlines.

The “Shield Act” was adopted into law after the former “Free Press” law was repealed in its entirety in Nov. 2018.  The current law calls for the executive and legislative branches of government to nominate one member each for an editorial board, which would serve an advisory and guiding role in news coverage.

According to the law, “All editorial content and review shall be at the discretion of the Mvskoke Media Managing Editor and Editorial Board, only.”

‘One member of the Board shall be selected by the Principal Chief and one member to be selected by the National Council. The third member of the Board will be selected by the members of the board,’ the law states.

That board is currently vacant as of June 4.

Section 11-105 outlines the specific responsibilities and qualifications of the board, the qualifications, and the deadline to seat the oversight board as May 1, 2019.

On April 30, before the May 1 deadline, a digital flyer was sent out by PR advertising general board vacancies at MCN seeking applicants to fill those boards.

On May 7, Mvskoke media reached out to the National Council and administration for comment.

Mvskoke Media staff contacted members of the BF&J Committee: David Hill, Pete Beaver, Travis Scott, Adam Jones and Robert Huft, in addition to Speaker Lucian Tiger and representatives from MCN Public Relations, Principal Chief James Floyd and Secretary of the Nation and Commerce Elijah McIntosh via email on May 7.

The email asked for comment from officials about the priorities for the department. The council did approve Mvskoke Media’s use of the Nation’s tribal seal for marketing purposes in the storefront located at the tribal complex. But as of press time there is yet to be a candidate selected to serve on the editorial board.

McIntosh said the administration recently introduced a new email nomination process.

“The Nation has recently taken steps to increase the number of applicants to apply for board positions through the MCNBoardVacancy@mcn-nsn.gov email address, which is available to anyone wanting to be considered.”

Under the new law sets editorial board members compensation is the lowest of all MCN boards.

The law states, “board members shall be provided reimbursement of reasonable expenses (mileage and $50 per meeting, not to exceed two meetings a month) in regard to their duties.”

It is still unclear as to whether or not the Executive or Legislative branch has chosen a candidate for the board as it is outlined in the NCA19-031 subsection 11-105 article A.

On June 4, Mvskoke Media sent out an email to officials asking for an update on the editorial board status.

Chief Floyd responded via email the same day.  At press time Mvskoke Media had no response from Speaker Tiger.

“For my selection, I now have an interested person who I plan to interview next week to gauge the interest and qualifications,” Floyd said. “I should have a decision by the end of next week.”

NCA 19-031outlines the duties of the board but within the guidelines are contradictions.

In section “F” under powers and duties, the board is defined as responsible for establishing and enforcing an editorial policy that will be fair and responsible in the reporting of general news, current events and issues of Muscogee (Creek) concern. The law states, “Board members will only meet when requested to review editorial content. The Managing Editor will request to review that content.”

It delineates the editorial board is responsible for the review of departmental policies and to ensure fairness and professionalism in all departments.  However, it goes on to state that the board will provide quarterly reports to the Principal Chief and National Council describing the activities and accomplishments of Mvskoke Media over the previous quarter.

“The Editorial board shall hold public periodic meetings in order to conduct official department business and policy review.”

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  • Tom Burtnett
    June 24, 2019, 1:05 pm

    I believe the amount of monthly stipend to be on the board is not in line with the educational requirements. Compared to other board positions $50.00 is almost an insult! I think to get a good editorial board they need to be compensated at a higher rate!