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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

NAJA Media Awards honor Ka Wai Ola News for overall excellence

HONOLULU (August 2, 2022) – Ka Wai Ola News, the print and online publication of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, was recently honored with three overall excellence accolades from the Native American Journalist Association (NAJA) Native Media Awards. The awards are for work completed in 2021.  

Based in Norman, Okla., NAJA is dedicated to supporting Native Americans in journalism. The annual NAJA competition recognizes excellence in reporting by Indigenous and non-Indigenous journalists from across the U.S. and Canada. Categories this year featured competition with such major news outlets as Al Jazeera, High County News and CBC Radio One.  

Competing in the Professional III category for news publications with a circulation of over 10,000, Ka Wai Ola News placed second as Print/Online-Best Digital Publication and third for Print/Online–General Excellence. The publication also received a third-place award for Print/Online-Best Layout. 

OHA’s Communications Team that produced Ka Wai Ola News in 2021 includes Communications Director Alice Silbanuz, Editor Puanani Fernandez-Akamine, Communications Strategist Ed Kalama, Multimedia Specialists Kaleena Patcho, Josh Koh and Jason Lees and web contractor William “Trip” Rems.   

“We’ve always known that our Communications team is maikaʻi loa, and to see this consistent national and professional validation of the quality of their work, as well as its value to the community, is very rewarding,” said OHA Board Chair Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey. “We are very proud to produce a publication that serves as a platform and voice for our lāhui and that is consistently rated among the best of its peers.” 

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Ka Wai Ola News has a large following, counting 51,000 print subscribers, 20,000 digital subscribers worldwide and an average 16,000 online readers visiting the site each month.

The Ka Wai Ola News print edition has been providing news for the lāhui since 1980, covering the people, issues and events important to the Native Hawaiian community. In January 2020, OHA launched kawaiola.news, an accompanying digital version that includes bonus videos, photo albums and an archival section that contains digitized versions of Ka Wai Ola News since its 1980 inception. The digital platform makes 4years of contemporary Hawaiian history available to the world. 

It is noteworthy that year after year, Ka Wai Ola News is consistently acknowledged for its excellence as an Indigenous print and digital publication, and rated in the top three for best layout by the NAJA Native Media Awards. Over the last three years, Ka Wai Ola News has now scooped up a total of 14 NAJA Media Awards. 

“Producing Ka Wai Ola each month is a team effort,” Fernandez-Akamine said. “In addition to our talented staff, we have freelance writers, regular columnists and other community contributors who not only provide content but also represent the diverse views of our lāhui. These NAJA awards for excellence honor our collective efforts.” 

A full list of winning entries is available at https://najanewsroom.com/2022-national-native-media-award-winners/#PDIII 

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