By Lisa Reed
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma’s newspaper, Biskinik, has joined the ranks of other outstanding tribal programs and ventures and has been recognized for its efforts with eight awards from the Oklahoma Press Association Better Newspaper Contest.
OPA held an awards presentation program June 8 at the Reed Center in Midwest City as part of its three-day annual convention. The contest drew 937 entries from 98 newspapers and was judged by members of the Nevada Press Association. The top winners in each of the 10 divisions took home the Sequoyah Award, 120 first place plaques were presented during the banquet and newspapers receiving second, third or fourth place received certificates.
The Biskinik competed in Division 8, which is for Sustaining Memberships. First place awards were received for In-Depth Enterprise, a continuing series of history/culture columns provided by the Choctaw Nation Cultural Services department; Editorial Comment; and Community Leadership for the informative manner water rights issues are presented to keep readers up-to-date. Other awards included two third places – News Writing and Sales Promotion. The Biskinik entered its pages of Labor Day information and brochure in the Sales Promotion event. The Biskinik also placed fourth in Sports Coverage for stickball and Labor Day tournaments, Advertising and Personal Columns by Chief Gregory E. Pyle and Assistant Chief Gary Batton.
The Choctaw Nation’s newspaper is mailed to more than 80,000 tribal members every month. Its name aptly reflects the legend of the Choctaws’ “little news bird.” Biskinik would live around Choctaw homes and let them know when someone was approaching, tapping out messages on trees. The small, watchful yellow-bellied sapsucker would also accompany hunting or war parties.
The Biskinik strives to continue keeping the Choctaw members abreast of current events, beneficial information on healthy lifestyles, opportunities to improve education, program benefits and news from Choctaws around the world to share with others. Its office is located in the tribal headquarters in Durant with five staff – Editor Lisa Reed, Assistant Editor Larissa Copeland, Reporter/Production Assistants Bret Moss and Chrissy Dill and Purchasing Coordinator Karen Jacob. The Biskinik is a division of the Public Relations Department under Executive Director Judy Allen and includes many PR activities on its daily schedule.
Press releases and on-the-spot news are also posted to the Choctaw Nation’s Facebook page and in the News Room on the Choctaw Nation’s website, www.choctawnation.com .
New technology has provided many opportunities to provide digital communication and another way for Biskinik to spread the news.