Oakland Voices is Accepting Applications until May 23

By Brenda Payton
2014 Oakland Voices Application

Oakland Tribune Correspondent

OAKLAND — The Oakland Tribune is looking for East Oakland residents who are interested in telling the stories of their neighborhoods in the groundbreaking Oakland Voices community media project.

The nine-month program was created to put the power of storytelling in the hands of East Oakland residents, with the belief that residents often have a unique and nuanced perception of where they live.

Ten community correspondents will learn reporting, writing, photography and social media skills from professional journalists. They will produce regular stories that will be posted on the Oakland Voices website, oaklandvoices.us; some stories may be printed in the Oakland Tribune and appear on the newspaper’s website.

This will be the third class of Oakland Voices correspondents. Past correspondents have written stories about young East Oakland residents training to be doctors and nurses, Oakland Unified School District’s mobile adult education classroom, high-speed police chases, body art for cars, and the elements that make a neighborhood healthy.

The project was made possible through a grant from The California Endowment, which will fund the community correspondents portion of the program for two years.

Additional support comes from the Oakland Tribune and Bay Area News Group.

Participants will be trained by professional journalists and educators through a curriculum devised by program partner and fiscal sponsor, The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.

The program will be run by former Oakland Tribune columnist Brenda Payton.

Participants will walk away from this program with a new understanding of journalism, a means to produce their own works, and they can apply the skills they have acquired in their professional and personal lives.

Participants will be paid a $1,000 stipend for completing the program.

This year, the Voices program launches Sacramento Voices, modeled after Oakland Voices, which was co-founded in 2010 by former Oakland Tribune Editor Martin G. Reynolds.

“There are a lot of challenges facing East Oakland. But there are also a lot of compelling stories about this dynamic and diverse community that go untold,” Reynolds said. “Oakland Voices provides the opportunity for the people of East Oakland to tell their own stories and to work with their hometown paper to shape the narrative of their lives.”

As part of this two-year grant, Oakland Voices will operate concurrently with Sacramento Voices, providing an opportunity for participants from both cities to interact. The Voices program has been expanded by the Maynard Institute, which has run two programs in Jackson, Miss., and a modified version in Philadelphia.

Voices has graduated 37 correspondents since its inception. The program begins in May.

For questions, please call the Maynard Institute at 510-891-9262.


  1. says

    This is primarily an English-language project, but we certainly accept applicants who speak other languages. But to get the most out of the project, applicants should be able to read and write English.

  2. Tasha Rath says

    I just read about the East Oakland Voices project. It sounds amazing! I tried to find all the info I could about the project, but I didn’t see where you had information about the age range you were hoping to work with. I got the impression from reading the article that you want college students or recent college grads. That is not me. But I would love to have a voice through this project.

    I grew up in Oakland, left for many years, and have recently returned for a brand new Oaktown experience.

    Please let me know if there is a chance that I could be included and what else you would need from me.

    Thank you.

  3. Mary Prime-Lawrence says

    Is this open to those who speak and write in languages other than English- Spanish, Mandarin, Amharic, Arabic?


  4. Rev. David S. Mayers says

    First of all I would like to say that Oakland is a City of City”s and is very diverse. I have Lived in Oakland mostly all of my Life.I have Lived in other cities as well. I also believe I can be a asset to this project .And I Believe in Oakland .And thank you for accecpting me .God Bless

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