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WNN - The Navajo Times - Interviews

Tom Arviso Jr.

Publisher, The Navajo Times & CEO, Navajo Times Publishing Company

Tom Arviso, Jr. majored in journalism at Arizona State University. He became managing editor of the Navajo Times in October 1988, editor and publisher in 1993, and was named CEO of the Navajo Times Publishing Company in 2004.

Arviso is a former board vice president and treasurer of the Native American Journalists Association’s Board of Directors, a member of the Arizona Newspapers Association’s Board of Directors and a board member of UNITY – Journalists of Color. He has received numerous awards such as the John Peter and Anna Catherine Zenger Award for Freedom of the Press and the People’s Right to Know, a John S. Knight Fellowship in Journalism in 2000-2001at Stanford University, the Arizona Newspapers Association Freedom of Information Award, and The Native American Journalists Association’s Wassaja Award, for extraordinary service to Native journalism.

[AZ 0101] - Part 1: Unique Role (10:00)

Tom Arviso, Jr., CEO, Navajo Times Publishing Co., publisher, The Navajo Times, started at The Navajo Times as an Arizona State University intern in 1983. Arviso says The Times “is a part of us.” “It’s a source of strength and empowerment for the Navajo people.” According to Arviso, “Prayers were said and songs were sung” when the newspaper started as a newsletter in 1958. “We are a true watchdog of tribal government,” says Arviso. Arviso is proud of his newspaper’s leading role among the native peoples’ press in the USA. “We are an advocate for freedom of the press,” says Arviso, “and the rest of ‘Indian Country’ has looked to what we have done.”

[AZ 0102] - Part 2: Publisher’s Background (5:09)

Tom Arviso, Jr., CEO, Navajo Times Publishing Co., publisher, The Navajo Times, says he was hired fulltime as a sports reporter when The Times launched its 5-day edition, The Navajo Times Today, in 1983. “My mom was my biggest editor and my biggest critic,” he says. His mother was a teacher, and his father and his siblings work in education.

[AZ 0103] - Part 3: Strategic Changes (4:06)

Tom Arviso, Jr., CEO, Navajo Times Publishing Co., publisher, The Navajo Times, says his newspaper is benefiting from hiring “more qualified, educated and experienced staff.” Arviso says the major change for The Times in recent years was breaking away from the Tribal Council, becoming an “independent business and an independent newspaper” in 2004. Since then, there has been “a large increase in interest in us,” says Arviso. (Learn about the newspaper’s fight for independence in The Story of the Newspaper.)

[AZ 0104] - Part 4: Adaptation & the Future (5:14)

Tom Arviso, Jr., CEO, Navajo Times Publishing Co., publisher, The Navajo Times, says The Times puts breaking news on its website, but it is still perfecting its online newspaper. It’s working to get its Navajo Language edition online for users in Navajo schools in the region. Arviso says The Times is setting aside funds to get its own building in the future. “We’ve run out of room. We want to hire more people on staff, but we have to find a place to put them,” says Arviso.

[AZ 0105] - Part 5: Prospects & Preparation (3:02)

Tom Arviso, Jr., CEO, Navajo Times Publishing Co., publisher, The Navajo Times, says, “We are starting to see more and more of our young people going to journalism as a career.” “We need our own people to come in and tell our own stories and really serve as educators to the rest of the non-native people,” says Arviso. “They can serve as the real story-tellers of today.”