Tom Arviso, the publisher and chief executive officer of the Navajo Times in Window Rock, Arizona, was recently named a recipient of the McGruder Award for Diversity Leadership, awarded by the Associated Press Media Editors (APME).
The award is given annually to journalists who embody the spirit of McGruder, a former executive editor of the Detroit Free Press in Michigan and managing editor of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio, who walked on in 2002 after a battle with cancer.
According to a press release announcing the recipients, McGruder was also a past APME president and a “relentless diversity champion.”
Arviso was chosen for the award because of his commitment to diversity in newspaper content and when recruiting and developing staff.
Teri Hayt, managing editor of the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson, who nominated Arviso, described him as a journalist “with a deep commitment to nurturing minority journalists and delivering top notch news reports to a minority population” in his nomination letter.
Created in 1958 by the Navajo Nation, the newspaper separated from the tribal government in 2004 under Arviso’s leadership to become an independent business. He was hired as managing editor in 1988 and became editor and publisher in 1993.
“The Times staff flourishes under Arviso’s guidance and determination to make the Navajo tribal government accountable to its people,” Hayt wrote in his letter. “Because of him, more young Native Americans are going into journalism as a career.”
He also spends time talking to youth in the community and at universities around the Navajo Nation.
“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,” Arviso said in the press release. “They can serve as the real storytellers of today.”
And he isn’t only affecting change for young Natives. Arviso has been spearheading press freedoms for Native newspapers for nearly three decades, according to Hayt.
Those efforts were recognized by the Native American Journalists Association in 1997 when he was given the Wassaja Award for extraordinary service to Native journalism.
Arviso and fellow recipient James Mallory, recently retired senior managing editor and vice president of news of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, will be recognized September 20 at the annual APME conference in Nashville, Tennessee. They will each receive $2,500 and a leadership plaque.