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Times featured in documentary

CHINLE

In September, a crew from Blue Chalk Media followed the Navajo Times staff around for a week, making a documentary they hoped would illustrate the importance of local newspapers in covering the COVID-19 pandemic.

They accompanied our reporters to assignments, but also hung around the newsroom for staff meetings, editing, production and printing, talking to not only editorial staff but the behind-the-scenes folks from the news-gathering cycle to delivering the end product.

They waited outside editor Duane Beyal’s apartment in the morning to get shots of him making coffee and driving from his home in Gallup to Window Rock.

“Perhaps more than any other newspaper, its dwindling circulation could leave many with very little knowledge of what occurs on their land,” Blue Chalk notes on its website in describing the project, produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center.

Although it got a bit intrusive and annoying (adjectives some of our sources apply to us, it should be noted), most staff welcomed them as they took brief clips of their lives and thoughts. The resulting documentary really captures the spirit of the Navajo Times, “The People’s Newspaper,” as the documentary is titled.

If you’ve ever wondered what goes into bringing you the news every week, and how the reporters feel about doing their jobs, please take the time to watch this video. While we’re far from perfect, we do take our jobs seriously, as you can see in these interviews, and try to put out the best product that we can.

“This is the first time ever that a U.S. media company filmed a documentary about the Navajo Times. I am happy that Blue Chalk Media put forth the effort to research our newspaper, find adequate funding, and then actually film our staff at work,” said Tommy Arviso Jr., CEO/Publisher of the Navajo Times. “There was a lot of work, travel and time put into this documentary and I am pleased with the outcome.

“It shows our staff while they are at work and the personal interviews with them disclose the commitment and pride that they put into their journalism, their story telling, and the publishing of the newspaper,” said Arviso. “It also shows how serious we are about our responsibility in delivering the news to our Navajo People and to all of our readers.

“Not many people know that we own and operate our own printing presses and this documentary shows our Navajo press crew hard at work. The film also includes our newspaper carriers and I was real happy to see them included because they are an important part of our Navajo Times team.

“This documentary could have easily run for about an hour because Blue Chalk Media filmed so much footage over the three weeks they were here. But, they were forced to edit and cut it down to about 30 minutes, then The New Yorker edited it down to 15 minutes.

“‘The People’s Newspaper’ is a great title because that is who actually owns the Navajo Times. We take great pride in our work and in publishing a Navajo Times each week. I hope everyone enjoys the documentary.”


About The Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth is the Tséyi' Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation. Her other beats include agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.” She can be reached at cyurth@navajotimes.com.

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