Debra Utacia Krol
When asked what she covers, Debra Utacia Krol succinctly replies, “Indians.” Krol, award-winning reporter, photojournalist and editor, is well-known throughout Indian Country as a force in Native American journalism who fearlessly ventures into most anything to get to the heart of compelling stories. She also covers local politics, travel, environmental issues and ‘quirky’ stories, the tackier the better. “I can write anything except play-by-play sports,” says Krol. “I love to dig out stories and find where the bodies are buried — or why Alzheimer’s disease patients are going without care. I can hobnob with senators, tribal councilmen, scientists, medicine people and bums without batting an eye.” Her commitment to deep reporting and ability to dig golden stories has brought Krol nine Tribal Media Awards, an Arizona Press Club award, several national journalism fellowships and national acclaim. Krol keeps a precept expressed by one of her cherished mentors, the late Native Peoples publisher Gary Avey, close to heart: “People love to learn, but they hate to be taught.” An enrolled member of the Xolon (Jolon) Salinan Tribe, a Central California Indian tribe, Krol works to entice readers to learn about the cultures, challenges and achievements of Native America in all its diversity while avoiding the tendency to talk down to mainstream audiences. She parleyed the clips, photo credits and expertise garnered over the lean years into relationships with major publications such as High Country News, the Official Arizona Visitor’s Guide, Winds of Change, Native Peoples, Indian Country Today Media Network, Arizona Highways and America West (now known as U.S. Airways) magazines. She also managed the Fort McDowell Yavapai News for two years. Krol is a member of the Native American Journalists’ Association, the Society of Environmental Journalists and the Society of Professional Journalists.