55 years of history in pages of the Navajo Times
On Thursday, August 4, 1960, the first official edition of the Navajo Times newspaper was published. That first tabloid-sized issue cost 10 cents and the late Paul Jones served as the Chairman of the Navajo Tribal Council.
The banner story in that issue was headlined, “Interior Department Final Approval Next.” It was an article about how the Navajo Tribal Council had just approved the construction of a multi-million dollar steam-electric power plant near Fruitland, N.M. that would be called the Four Corners Power Plant.
Another front-page article, “Spending Allotted By Tribal Council,” detailed the approval by the Navajo Tribal Council of the Fiscal Year 1961 Budget. Included in that budget was a resolution that established the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority Enterprise.
So as you can see, there was much history being made back in 1960 and the Navajo Times was there to record and publicize it. Fast-forward to today and you can imagine the incredible amount of Navajo history that has been documented over the years in the pages of the Navajo Times newspaper.
Last Tuesday, August 4, 2015, marked the 55th Anniversary of the first edition of the Navajo Times newspaper. Happy Birthday Navajo Times! And, congratulations Navajo Nation and thank you, Navajo people!
Since its inception as a small tribal newsletter back in 1959, the Navajo Times has gone through significant growth and change. Just as the Navajo people and the Navajo Nation have flourished and achieved so much in the last five decades, so too, has the Navajo Times.
For about the first 24 years, the Navajo Times was published as a black-and-white, tabloid-sized newspaper and it was printed in Albuquerque. On March 21, 1984, the Navajo Times began its life as a larger, broadsheet-sized newspaper, and it was printed on its own printing press.
The Navajo Times has remained a broadsheet publication since then and it continues to be printed each week, in full color, on its own large printing presses in its office building located in downtown Window Rock.
Back in 1960, several thousand issues of the Navajo Times would be printed and distributed each week. Today, the Navajo Times press crew prints over 22,000 issues each week, featuring at least four separate sections in full-color.
In the early days, the Navajo Times was circulated primarily in the major towns on the reservation such as Window Rock, Tuba City, Chinle, Shiprock and Crownpoint. Today, the Navajo Times has a world-wide circulation and has 12 contract carriers that physically deliver the Navajo Times each Thursday to Flagstaff, Page, Southern Utah, Southern Colorado, Farmington, Grants, Albuquerque, Gallup, Payson, Phoenix and all points in between.
The Navajo Times is an award-winning publication many times over, receiving honors for its style of journalism, photography, layout and design, and community service. Our peers in the newspaper and journalism fields at the national, state and regional levels gave these awards to the staff of the Navajo Times. We’re proud of these honors because they were earned with honest, hard work.
These are some examples of the growth the Navajo Times has experienced throughout its history and there are many more accomplishments. We’ve also gone through some physical changes through our years and we plan to make some significant changes in the very near future.
The basic layout and design of the Navajo Times has grown with the many advances that modern technology has brought to all of us as a society, especially with the fast-paced advancements in computers and the Internet. We have gone from old Apple computers and cutting-and-pasting in the early 1990s, to laptops and quick, easy pagination today. It has made production much easier and quicker to say the least.
For the last 15 years, you have all seen the same design of the Navajo Times.
But, on August 27, we plan to unveil a whole new Navajo Times. We will feature a new nameplate, different fonts and point sizes and overall, a new fresh look that I’m sure our readers and advertisers will appreciate it.
One thing that will not change, however, is our unique style of journalism. In 1959 and 1960, the prime purpose of the Navajo Times was to inform the Navajo People of important news, significant events and accomplishments that were occurring with their government and communities.
Today, we continue to carry on that basic philosophy. We incorporate the Navajo culture and tradition into our newspaper through our articles, photography, layout and design, and how we treat people in general. We are respectful of the Navajo people and culture and we are educated and experienced in the basic principles of journalism, ethics and values.
We combine all of those important elements into our publication and business, and that’s what makes the Navajo Times, and Native journalism, unique and original. We are here for our Navajo People, first. But we also produce a publication that serves, informs and entertains all readers regardless of race, ethnicity, age or where they come from or live. The Navajo Times is a newspaper publication that has something for everyone.
Another important fact that we acknowledge and respect is that none of this would be possible if not for the continued, dedicated support of the Navajo People and all of our readers and advertisers. It is through your help and understanding that the Navajo Times has become the largest selling Native-owned publication in the world, and the only Native-owned newspaper publishing company.
So on behalf of the staff and employees of the Navajo Times, both past and present, I say Aahééhee’. So, as we celebrate our 55th Anniversary, we will continue to produce the best newspaper publication that we possibly can.