OHA Wins Seven National Native Media Awards


Ka Wai Ola newspaper recently received seven National Native Media Awards from the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA).

Since 1980, Ka Wai Ola has covered the people, issues and events making news in our pae ʻāina, and shared OHA’s work on behalf of our lāhui with a goal of providing high-quality storytelling through an Indigenous lens. Recently, OHA expanded the reach of Ka Wai Ola with kawaiola.news, the new, digital version of the newspaper that includes complementary bonus videos and expanded photo albums. Combined, Ka Wai Ola’s print and digital subscribers number more than 75,000.

In late September, NAJA announced the winners of the 2020 National Native Media Awards for work produced during 2019. General excellence awards (Best Digital News Platform and Best Layout) are for Indigenous-owned media outlets (tribal media) that are at least 50 percent Native-owned, managed or controlled. Ka Wai Ola received seven awards, including two overall awards:

Online – Best Digital Publication (overall)

  • First Place: kawaiola.news
  • Staff: Alice Silbanuz, Kaleena Patcho, Puanani Fernandez-Akamine, Jason Lees, Jhewel Felipe, Aloha Lau
  • Web Designer: William “Trip” Rems

Print – Best Layout (overall)

  • First Place: Ka Wai Ola
  • Graphic Designers: Kaleena Patcho, Nelson Gaspar
  • Print/Online – Best Multimedia (new category)

First Place: Ka Wai Ola – “Fostering Aloha” (December 2019)

  • Staff: Puanani Fernandez-Akamine, Jason Lees, Kaleena Patcho, Alice Silbanuz
  • Second Place: Ka Wai Ola – “Protecting the Paʻakai Traditions of Hanapēpē, Kauaʻi” (September 2019)
  • Community Writer: Malia Nobrega-Olivera
  • Staff: Jason Lees, Kawena Carvalho-Mattos, Kaleena Patcho

Print/Online – Best Column

  • Third Place: Ka Wai Ola – “E Hoʻokanaka: Inspiring & Uplifting the Next Generation of Leaders”
  • Staff: Alice Silbanuz, Puanani Fernandez-Akamine, Jason Lees, Kawena Carvalho-Mattos, Jhewel Felipe

Print/Online – Best Sports Story (Professional Division III)

  • Second Place: Ka Wai Ola – “Modern Day Warriors” (March 2019)
  • Staff: Kawena Carvalho-Mattos, Jason Lees
  • Honorable Mention: Ka Wai Ola – “‘The Eddie’ Will Go” (January 2019)
  • Staff: Sterling Wong, Kaleena Patcho, Jason Lees, Kawena Carvalho-Mattos

“The recognition of OHA’s brand-new online news outlet as the Best Digital Publication is especially exciting,” said OHA Ka Pouhana/CEO Dr. Sylvia Hussey. “Mahalo to OHA’s staff, Trustees, community writers, and especially the community members we have featured for sharing their stories and helping to establish Ka Wai Ola as the Hawaiian community newspaper recognized for its exemplary efforts to share the stories of the lāhui.”

Most of OHA’s awards were in Professional Division III, the category for publications with a circulation of more than 10,000. A full list of winners is available on the NAJA website.