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The Navajo Times has a new editor, and she's been working for decades to inform the Native community

The Navajo Nation was one of the hardest-hit places in the world during the worst years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As KJZZ has reported, 1 out of every 140 people there died of the virus during much of 2020 and 2021. That’s a death rate higher than any U.S. state or country in the world. The tribal government cracked down hard and managed to make a dramatic turnaround, outpacing the rest of Arizona in vaccine administration early on.

It was also a big news story. Reporters from around the world parachuted in to tell it. But Krista Allen was one of the few Navajo voices covering the devastation in her own community.

Allen was recently named the new editor of the Nation’s paper of record, the Navajo Times. And her work during the pandemic gained her national acclaim — she was written up in Elle magazine and was named Journalist of the Year by the Arizona Newspapers Association.

She grew up in a small town near Page and only left because her mother encouraged her to go to college, where she fell in love with editing.

After that, she kept at it. She became a freelance reporter from her hometown for the Navajo Times until, after more than a decade of working in the biz — working toward her goal of becoming the editor of the Navajo Times — she finally got her chance.

The Show spoke with her to learn what it means to her to take the helm of the paper now, and how her work there throughout the pandemic shaped her life and her work.

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.