Oakland Voices is a journalism training program led by the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education that trains Oakland residents to tell the stories of their neighborhoods. Oakland Voices 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 Oakland, including community heroes and heroines, health and wealth disparities, and efforts to curb violence.

In 2020, we were unable to recruit a new class of correspondents as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and pivoted to engage over 60 program alumni 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 this website.

The program returned in 2021 using a virtual model and looks forward to returning to hybrid of in-person and online curriculum, while continuing to focus on engaging our program alumni and community partners. Subscribe to our newsletter for email updates on our next call for applications.

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 of Oakland Voices

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 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 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.


Rasheed Shabazz and Momo Chang serve as Co-directors of the Oakland Voices program. Martin Reynolds co-founded Oakland Voices and is co-executive director of the Maynard Institute. Evelyn Hsu is co-executive director of the Maynard Institute and contributes the training curriculum of the program. Read more about the Oakland Voices team.


Multiple cohorts of Oakland residents have completed the Oakland Voices program. Check out a summary listing of all the correspondents by project years since 2010.


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

Funders and Partners

Oakland Voices is funded the California Endowment, Akonadi Foundation, and the Langeloth Foundation.

Support Oakland Voices

Oakland Voices is a program of the Maynard Institute, the nation’s oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in journalism. Please indicate on your tax-deductible contribution to the Maynard Institute that you’d like to dedicate your gift to the Oakland Voices program.

Maynard Institute programs are open to all. The Institute is committed to addressing the under-representation of people of color and other historically disadvantaged groups in media-related professions, and so we make special efforts to recruit individuals from these groups for our programs. For questions about sponsoring an Oakland Voices correspondent or donating to the program, contact us to learn more.

1 Comment

  1. I grew up at 65th and East 14th Street, in the fifties. Attended Lockwood Elementary. As a little white girl in a predominately black, Portuguese, Asian neighborhood — I have the fondest memories of an extraordinary experience in “the hood”. At 11 we moved to Glenview, where I became a lifelong advocate of social injustice. I joined the Panthers in the sixties. Look forward to following your “voice”.

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