Fall 2013

[Alumni News]

Terria Smith

Finding Her Voice Through Journalism

Terria Smith

For Terria Smith (’08, Journalism), journalism is more than just storytelling, it’s about helping people find their voice.

Smith is a multimedia producer and editor for FNX: First Nations Experience, a Southern California-based television station that covers issues affecting indigenous people and Native Americans.

“I get to travel around the country and report on the struggles and successes Native Americans are experiencing as a community,” says Smith, who is a member of the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians. “It’s the best job you could ask for.”

Smith, who grew up on the Torres Martinez Indian reservation, got her first taste of journalism at age 20, when she wrote a letter to the editor of a local newspaper discussing a land acquisition settlement facing her tribe.

“As a young person on a reservation, I didn’t really feel like I had a voice up until that point,” Smith recalls. “After the letter got published, I realized, ’Hey, people are listening—writing is how I can get people to pay attention.’ “
Smith studied journalism at HSU, where she also found support through the Indian Tribal Education and Personnel Program (ITEPP). The hands-on experience she gained working for KHSU, KRFH and The Lumberjack helped her gain acceptance to UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

In the past few years, Smith’s work as a journalist has taken her around the country. She has featured the achievements of national advocacy organizations like the Native American Rights Fund and covered problems like Native American homelessness and economic sustainability.

What she’s found is that within every story of hardship, there is also a story of hope.

“If nothing else, I want to be an example for my community that they can transcend any circumstances and realize their dreams,” she says. “We all experience difficulty, but the important thing is to keep going and to not let those circumstances define you.”