Letter from the editor: Greetings from Sterling Cosper

By: Gary Fife/Editorial Assistant

Photo Credit: Amanda Rutland/Photography Intern

OKMULGEE, Okla. — Hesci (hello) readers. My name is Sterling Cosper, the new editor of the Muscogee Nation News.

I was hired as a reporter in January 2012 and I have been serving as acting editor since May 1. Our July 15 Festival edition was my first as official editor.

Starting out, I was nervous stepping into this role after the departure of my colleague and personal friend, former MNN Editor Rebecca Landsberry.

Completing that first issue was quite harrowing. However, our fortitude as a staff has been solidified, as we have stayed consistent in our production and quality despite being short-handed during the busiest time of the year.

This feat is something I am certainly proud of and I was happy to tag my official title for the first time on our wonderful 39th Mvskoke Nation Festival edition. I owe a big ‘Mvto’ to many Mvskoke Media staff members for their contributions to this project and their continued contributions to our publication and department.

I have already begun implementing changes to improve the quality of the MNN and will continue to do so as I move forward as editor. One change you may have noticed over the last few editions was the recent redesign of the MNN, which was crafted to match the new theme of the tribal website, www.muscogeenation-nsn.gov.

As a reporter for the MNN, I started during the very eventful first year of the current administration.

I covered a broad array of subjects and events as a reporter, including: the Mvskoke Etvlwv Festival, the MCN National Council, tribal programs, the Nation’s purchase of many new facilities and national issues such as the Idle No More movement and the Violence Against Women Act.
I am very grateful to my tribe, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation for providing me with my first career job and giving me no shortage of events to cut my teeth on as I develop in my profession.

Born and raised in Wichita, Kan., I graduated from Wichita State University, where I studied at the Elliot School of Communication, in 2008 with a degree emphasis in print journalism.

After graduation, I joined the workforce and then moved to Anchorage, Ala. two years later. Upon returning to Wichita after a six-month stay in Alaska, my grandmother who lives in Henryetta, Okla., informed me of the open reporter position at the MCN.

This was the start of a new chapter in my life, which led me to where I am today.

As editor, I will certainly miss being able to take as many photos or write as many stories as I did under my previous title. However, I am excited to apply this experience to the refinement of our content down the road and continue to learn new skills as I serve in this new capacity.

It has also been my pleasure to highlight many of our talented citizens in the past through feature stories I wrote as a reporter.

Considering my own development working for the MCN, I am certainly glad to spotlight other successful tribal members, acknowledging their accomplishments in print for the rest of the Nation to see.

While I certainly enjoy the positive tone of feature stories, it is also my belief that it is our duty as journalists to provide transparency regarding our tribal government for our citizens.  

MNN Editorial Assistant Gary Fife has written an article based on a recent Mvkoke Radio show regarding the challenges and importance of this duty in tribal journalism. While I will touch on this issue briefly, I encourage you to read this story, which is being run as a two-part story within the July 15 and Aug. 1 editions. 

You may have noticed that we have touched on freedom of the press in tribal government several times in the past. This is due to our belief that the press, which has been referred to as the ‘fourth estate,’ is an important component of the checks and balances system of any government.

On the subject of government, I’d like to remind you of the upcoming MCN elections. The primaries will be held Sept. 21 and the general election is set for Nov. 2. We are currently gathering information for our candidate profiles, which will be run in an upcoming edition.

Here at Mvskoke Media, we recently won an election of our own. We will be bringing home seven awards from this year’s Native American Journalist’s Association conference in Tempe, Ariz. I’ve heard it has gotten up to 118 degrees out there this season!

I’m looking forward to it regardless and I’m already looking toward doing better at next year’s awards!

As editor, I am also looking forward to meeting and speaking with more of our readers and citizens. Feel free to contact me with any leads, questions or concerns at: 918-732-7697 or scosper@mcn-nsn.gov