Andy Harvey Native American High School Journalism Workshop Sets Students’ Sights on Media Career

Posted: Saturday, January 30th 2016 at 11:05 AM

By Kelly Johnston, student writer

The Northern Arizona University School of Communication’s (COM) Andy Harvey Native American High School Journalism Workshop is named for a Native American NAU journalism graduate who went on to be recognized nationally as a multimedia journalist before his untimely death at the age of 35. It was Andy’s belief that Native Americans should tell Native American stories. The workshop embraces that idea by encouraging Native American high school students to consider careers in broadcast media. The facilitators of the workshop hope that it will also help participants recognize a college degree as an achievable goal.

Art Brooks, president and CEO of the Arizona Broadcasters Association (ABA), proposed the idea of the workshop to COM eight years ago. The ABA provided critical initial funding for the program, and continues to fund the workshop, which this summer enters its fifth year, from June 19-25. Other contributors have included the Gannett Foundation, Channel 12 KPNX (Phoenix), NAU’s Native American Cultural Center, as well as COM. 

“It took us a few years to figure out what the workshop would be, how to recruit, and, of course, how to fund it,” said COM’s Paul Helford, the workshop’s director. “Except for the ABA which contributes every year, we continue to search for regular funding.”

The first workshop took place in June 2012. The $50 tuition includes a full week’s stay in an NAU dormitory and on-campus meals. Scholarships are available for the full tuition.

Students learn broadcast production techniques from writing to shooting to editing. Students learn basics such as camera and lighting techniques, script writing, audio production, and editing—all while using professional equipment provided by COM. 

“Last year, lead instructor Toni DeAztlan-Smith had the students create original television news stories for the nightly NAZ Today, a live, in-house newscast produced by COM. They produced their version of the news show, complete with studio production, news anchors, and their own stories for the program,” Helford recalled.

He has high hopes for the growth of the program in years to come.

“I’d love to see some of these students enter the media world and become Native voices for the country,” he said, “…a sentiment that brings the whole thing back to Andy Harvey’s vision of Native Americans telling their own stories to the world through careers in broadcast media.”

To see past work done by the students, and for summer 2016’s application, which opened on February 1, go to

Categories: nau business news spring 2016 flagstaff business news nbn fbn school of communications com andy harvey native american high school journalism workshop andy harvey journalism toni deaztlan-smith art brooks arizona broadcasters association nau business news: february 2016 kelly johnston