Maynard Institute Names New Oakland Voices Coordinator

Rasheed Shabazz, Oakland Voices Coordinator

Multimedia journalist Rasheed Shabazz will coordinate the Maynard Institute’s flagship community storytelling program, Oakland Voices, the organization announced today.

Shabazz has a range of journalism and community organizing experiences that will support this new phase of the program.

Shabazz has most recently freelanced for the East Bay Express, and has previous experience with Indybay, Oakland Local, Oakland Post and the San Francisco BayView. While an undergraduate, he edited the Laney Tower at Laney College in Oakland, and later Onyx Express Magazine’s website at UC Berkeley.

Rasheed Shabazz, Oakland Voices Coordinator

“I cannot tell you how thrilled we are to have Rasheed on board coordinating this program,” said Oakland Voices Co-Founder and Maynard Institute Co-Executive Director Martin G. Reynolds. “This year, we’re pivoting to make Oakland Voices more of a news and information provider. Rasheed not only understands the craft of journalism and organizing, but his digital expertise will help us move the program along as we think more strategically about multi-platform storytelling, distribution and perhaps most importantly, audience engagement.”

Reynolds went on to say, “Local journalism has taken a big hit in recent years, so Oakland Voices needs to think of itself more as a provider of news and Rasheed is going to help us conceive and execute on that vision.”

Shabazz picks up the Oakland Voices baton from longtime Oakland Tribune columnist and journalist Brenda Payton, who coordinated the program since 2014. “Brenda was and is fantastic,” Reynolds said. “She helped build the program up and we greatly appreciate her contributions and leadership. We wouldn’t be where we are now without her outstanding work.”

The Oakland Voices program started in 2010 and focused on training community storytellers to publish in the Oakland Tribune and later the East Bay Times. The program, which has graduated 50 storytellers, has evolved and is shifting towards turning the Voices website and social media platforms into a newshub for Oakland.

Shabazz will be responsible for organizing trainings for correspondents and editing their work for the Voices website and on platforms with partners. Community correspondents go through a nine-month training program and gain skills in interviewing, newswriting and photography while using smartphones as the primary tool for newsgathering.

“Journalism, social media, and technology have helped me appreciate my own voice and the voices of communities who don’t often receive the attention they deserve,” Shabazz said. “I’m excited to help lift up more voices from Oakland and develop a collaborative platform for more stories.”

The Voices program is funded by a grant from The California Endowment, a non-partisan health care foundation. Oakland residents interested in becoming a correspondent can learn more about the program on the Voices website,, email, or call (510) 863-1695 for more information.

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