About Oakland Voices

Oakland Voices correspondents reflect on their experiences wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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. Residents receive training 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 inequities, and efforts to curb violence.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have delayed the start of our next until 2021 and are focusing on engaging our program alumni and community partners.

Oakland Voices Alumni

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.

Over 60 current and former Oakland residents have completed the Oakland Voices training program. We are currently focusing on compensating our alumni for COVID-19 and other Oakland-related storytelling.

Last year’s Oakland Voices launched its first citywide cohort with correspondents from throughout the Town.

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 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.


Rasheed Shabazz coordinates the Oakland Voices. Momo Chang coordinates the alumni network. 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.


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


Oakland Voices is supported by the Maynard Institute, the nation’s oldest organization dedicated to creating newsrooms that represent America’s diversity. Please indicate on your contribution that you’d like to dedicate your gift to the Oakland Voices program.

One Comment

  1. Karen McBride

    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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