Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

July 17, 2013

Censored News: The long seven year road

By Brenda Norrell

Censored News

Honestly when I created Censored News seven years ago, I thought it would only take a year or two for people to see the need for a real uncensored national Native American newspaper, and create one. 

Well, that was naive. Not only has that not happened, but the amount of plagiarism in Indian country media each day boggles the mind. How can it be that hard working reporters can't make a dime -- and armchair plagiarizers who never leave their homes get fat paychecks? 

Still, I wouldn't trade these years at Censored News for anything. Tuesday was one of the best days in a long time at Censored News, with more than 5,000 readers. It always makes me smile to see that Russia and China are at the top of the readers list. It is always a good day to share a photo of an O'odham protest against the US Border Patrol, news from the Longest Walk 4, and to warn of the threat of arrests at the traditional camp in Washington state. 

One reason that plagiarism is so rampant in Indian country media is because of the websites that just share links without doing any journalism. They usually promote the plagiarizers, and don't bother to do any research to find out the original source and who did the actual hard work. 

Another reason is that Indian Country Today Media Network fired its real reporters years ago and hired plagiarizers to rewrite others hard work. This is the pattern of those reporters who never leave their homes. This plagiarism is expected by the newspaper's editors and publisher. 

Plagiarism became the standard at Indian Country Today. People unknowingly promote those links believing those are authentic work. In a recent press release, Indian Country Today said its two top editors came from Martha Stewart Living and Playboy -- that's hardly background in American Indian news. Indian country deserves better.

Thank you to all our readers, writers and photographers.

Brenda Norrell, Censored News

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 31 years. She served as a reporter at  Navajo Times during the 18 years that she lived on the Navajo Nation. She was also a stringer for AP and USA Today. After serving as a longtime staff reporter for Indian Country Today, she was censored and terminated in 2006. She began Censored News as a result. Now in its 7th year, Censored News has no advertising or sponsors.

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