Oakland Voices (OV) correspondents are trained in digital media storytelling — writing blogs and online pieces, taking photos, shooting video, and using social media to discuss issues that matter most in their communities. Our correspondents also learn journalism ethics and editorial decision-making, interview basics, and story craft. They use those tools to report on a wide range of issues highlighting the triumphs and challenges of life in East Oakland, including community heroes and heroines, health and wealth disparities, and efforts to curb violence.

This year, they were unable to recruit a new class of correspondents as a result of the pandemic. Instead, OV coordinators have called on the 60+ OV alumni to help fill the gap in COVID-19 coverage of the Town. Their coronavirus stories garnered over 100,000 views in a few months on their website and acclaim from many East Bay figures.

2019 Oakland Voices cohort. From right, Rasheed Shabazz, coordinator; correspondents Amelah El-Amin, Yadira Cervantes, Dishonne Muhammad; guest speaker Joe Lambert, Story Center; correspondents Brandy Collins, Ayodele Nzinga, and Iris M. Crawford.

History

Oakland Voices emerged from a partnership between the Oakland Tribune and The Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. Oakland Voices connects correspondents with more than a dozen media professionals to teach OV correspondents. Participants work individually and in teams, creating content for OaklandVoices.us, which can also be published elsewhere. The collaborative, applied learning approach means correspondents quickly become aware of their power and responsibility as storytellers, and as members of the media.

Many of our correspondents join Oakland Voices because they want to reshape common misperceptions of their communities, portraying them instead as dynamic places where real people struggle, succeed, and thrive. Our team members also join OV because they have a passion for telling stories — with the camera, and with the pen. Oakland Voices allows correspondents to explore both their sense of mission and their love for storytelling, while also acquiring skills they can take into their personal and professional lives.

Oakland Voices and correspondents have been recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists and other news organizations.

Donate Support Oakland Voices community correspondents

 
For questions about sponsoring an Oakland Voices correspondent or donating to Oakland Voices, please contact Maynard Institute co-executive director, Martin Reynolds at mreynolds@mije.org.