General Solutions Partner

Pandemic crushes sponsors, but Kid Scoop commitment remains


Imagine a sole weekly newspaper serving 300,000 people who are often without telephone and internet service, over four states (the “Four Corners”) and 27,413 square miles of mostly desert. And then, having the New Yorker magazine produce a website video about your newspaper.

The Navajo Times, a weekly for-profit corporation wholly-owned by the Navajo People (not its government), lost many of its sponsors — a local utility, car dealerships and small family restaurants — when the COVID-19 virus swept through right after starting to publish Kid Scoop. But the publisher has made a commitment to continue the weekly page for families through 2021, with or without sponsors.

“We have a younger staff. They are parents, aunts and uncles, with kids in school, and they became the voice for including youth content,” said Vernon Yazzie, advertising department director, and Navajo himself with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the New Mexico State University.

“We discovered the educational value of Kid Scoop through Dan ‘Patio’ Dalton (sales executive with Kid Scoop), and with the schools closed because of the pandemic, our staff knew parents needed educational support at home,” he said.

When the schools closed, parents increased their purchases of the Navajo Times at supermarkets, gas stations, bookstores and gift shops. The vast reaches of its circulation area are widespread with little access to the internet. The paper has 13,500 paid circulation, with 480 subscriptions delivered electronically. Some copies are mailed free to Native Americans enlisted in the military and stationed overseas.

The staff of the Navajo Times, who are majority Navajo, helped develop a recent Kid Scoop page featuring the Navajo culture and history. On the full-size page, students learned about the Navajo Code Talkers. “During World War II, many Navajo enlisted in the U.S. Army. Because the Navajo language was unknown to most people, many Navajo soldiers became ‘Code Talkers.’ The Navajo language was used to send coded messages that the enemy could not understand.”

The New Yorker video about the Navajo Times went live January 14, 2021.

“We were blessed with a gift to be a storyteller,” says CEO/Publisher Tommy Arviso, Jr. “But you have to use it the right way.”

“The rest of the world’s telling their truths, you know, on behalf of their people, their communities, their cities, their countries. I feel proud that I’m able to do that for my home. For the Navajo Nation, for Dinétah,” says Donovan Quintero in the video. Born and raised in the Navajo Nation, he takes his journalism seriously, writing as “a voice of the people,” the Navajo people.

“We are proud to partner with the Navajo Times,” said Vicki J. Whiting, creator of Kid Scoop. “Their small staff produces an amazing product for the widespread Navajo culture that is so rich with history and mythology. Our Navajo Twins story gives children an opportunity to learn about this ancient culture. We are grateful to the staff of the Navajo Times for their outstanding journalism and commitment to their originating Native American culture.”

The writer of this article is Ellen Creane. She is a freelance reporter for newspapers, an ESL college instructor, a former NIE manager at three newspapers and a marketing communications professional. To reach her for your project, email Also see her LinkedIn profile.