‘Telling my own people’s stories’: Diné reporter tasked with covering Arizona’s Native nations
Before she started working there, Shondiin Silversmith rarely read the Arizona Republic.
“The stories didn’t reflect who I was as a person or concern my (Diné) community,” she said.
These days, if that’s true, Silversmith, 31, has only herself to blame. She’s the first reporter to be hired for the new Indigenous communities beat.
After just two months covering Arizona’s Native communities, Silversmith has already had a story — a feature about a Hopi wedding — on the front page of USA Today.
The feedback on her stories has been “tremendous,” said Republic Editor Greg Burton.
“It’s been nothing but positive,” agreed Kim Bui, the Republic’s director of audience innovation, “especially on the Hopi story. People were writing, ‘Incredibly beautiful,’ ‘Thank you so much for showing us something we haven’t had the opportunity to see.’”
It’s been Silversmith’s dream to return to reporting on Indigenous people ever since she left the Navajo Times in 2015 to pursue a master’s degree in digital media at Northeastern University. But it’s been a circuitous route.