By Brenda Payton
OAKLAND VOICES COORDINATOR
EAST OAKLAND – Oakland Voices correspondents have written about volunteers who are feeding poor people in their neighborhoods, resilient family members, organizations devoted to improving their communities as well as tough subjects such as human trafficking, residents living in tents on the streets and the city’s housing crisis.
Their stories portray East Oakland communities and residents in a light that is often overlooked by the media. They see their neighborhoods differently and more completely because they live there.
They play an important role, creating a broader understanding of a large section of the city for residents of East Oakland and the city at large. Last year’s correspondents organized two community forums that featured activists and experts on the housing crisis and solutions. They also produced radio stories in conjunction with staff members of KALW public radio; the stories were aired on KALW and featured at a community forum.
Oakland Voices, a community journalism program, is entering it’s fifth year and we’re recruiting for the next class. It’s an exhilarating experience as the correspondents become the storytellers of their communities.
CLICK HERE TO APPLY ONLINE THE APPLICATION DEADLINE IS SEPT. 12, 2016
But past correspondents can say it best:
“It was great opportunity to find my voice and share stories with my community. It stretched me in new directions, and allowed me to focus more on my creative side.” — Sabah Williams
“The writing became therapeutic. It is a great program for anyone who aspires to write. You get to know how a story is structured. It allows you to talk to the people and get the real story of people who are usually overlooked.” – Mustafa Solomon
“It allowed me to once again find my voice. I felt I’d lost that for a while. And I was able to find my voice in my community. I could be a voice for the people. My biggest accomplishment was getting my story on Rep. Barbara Lee’s town hall meeting on gun violence published in the Sunday newspaper. It is an emotional topic and very important.” – Rosalinda Hernandez.
“To be able to come into a space with other residents of East Oakland and share our stories about community activism, people, actions and events that aren’t necessarily in the newspaper. We were able to share another side of Oakland, not just gangs and drugs, but the thriving artistry. I got one of my articles in the Tribune and I called my mom and grandma, and said, ‘Go buy the paper.’” — Angela Scott
“I was able to reconnect with the community and meet the professional people who are key players in the field of journalism. I had that one- on- one interaction with editors and journalists. My biggest accomplishment was telling my story in a personal way with KALW and Oakland Voices.” – Aqueila Lewis
“It (Oakland Voices) meant I got out of my little bubble in the comfort of the Laurel District to see where the real people live in East Oakland. I explored organizations and met interesting and inspiring people. It’s a real model for community journalism.” – Bill Joyce
“It was an opportunity to expand my voice and bring the voices of Oakland community residents into the mainstream media. It was an opportunity to grow with other Oakland Voices correspondents.” – Saleem Gilmore
“I had never written a feature story in my life and I learned how to write one, step by step. To see my stories on the website, I never thought I would see that. And I was able to get back into making videos. It was important.” – Randy Filio
Oakland Voices is a nine-month program that trains average people in basic journalism skills – writing, interviewing, photography and video – so they can tell their stories and those of their communities. Correspondents produce two articles, photo essays or videos a month. The stories are posted at oaklandvoices.us and are sometimes featured in the East Bay Times and on its website. Correspondents receive a $1,000 stipend.
Anyone who is interested can apply online. Applicants must be 18 and over and live in East Oakland. Contact us at email@example.com to get an application. The application deadline is September 4. For more information, call 510-205-7038. APPLY HERE!!
Oakland Voices is funded in large part by The California Endowment and partners with the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education and the East Bay Times.
Lift your voice to tell the story of your community.