October 20, 2022

The Poynter Institute is pleased to announce the 15 journalists selected from more than 100 applicants for its prestigious Power of Diverse Voices: Writing Workshop for Journalists of Color. The group will convene Nov. 10-13 at Poynter in St. Petersburg, Florida, for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic moved the program online.

“This program allows us to nurture and lift up the voices of journalists whose perspectives deserve to be more widely shared,” said Doris Truong, director of teaching and diversity strategies at Poynter and a faculty member for the program. “Bringing these writers together in person will forge relationships they can take forward in their careers. Their experience at Poynter affirms that they are not alone in their experiences as BIPOC storytellers.”

Power of Diverse Voices, led by Dallas Morning News Assistant Managing Editor for Journalism Initiatives Tom Huang, is a transformative, four-day seminar that helps journalists of color find their voice and build skills for writing opinion pieces and personal essays. Participants receive one-on-one coaching, small-group instruction and dedicated writing time.

Many award-winning essays, podcasts and other work originated or improved during this workshop. Recently, Harry Mok, assistant opinion editor at The San Francisco Chronicle and a graduate of Poynter’s 2021 workshop, earned AAJA’s Excellence in Commentary for his piece about belonging as an “Asian kid in a California farm town.” Ismael Pérez, another 2021 alum and Chicago Sun-Times editorial board member, won first place this year in the Society of Features Journalism General Commentary Portfolio category for this column.

“I like calling the Diverse Voices class ‘the Powerful Ones,’ because during the workshop, without fail, these writers find their power — the power of their personal experience, the power of their writing voice, the power to empathize with others,” said Huang, seminar director and Poynter adjunct faculty. “Over the past few years, we’ve found that the seminar creates a safe space for journalists of color to discover and amplify their voices — and support one another in this hard work.”

Key to that supportive environment are the other faculty members in the writing workshop. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans, St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Aisha Sultan, Futuro Media editorial director and professor Fernanda Santos, and executive coach Sushil Cheema will join Truong and Huang during the 2022 workshop. Santos and Cheema are also program alumni.

“One of the best things about this workshop is the balance of being both nurtured and challenged,” said Elizabeth Myong, 2021 alum and Arts Access Collaborative reporter/producer at KERA. “My workshop experiences definitely challenged me to more carefully consider whose voices I’m centering in my stories. It also taught me the universality of our experiences and the real human connection that can happen when you’re not afraid to be exactly who you are.”

Poynter is pleased to welcome members of the upcoming Power of Diverse Voices workshop:

  • Jonathan Abrams, reporter, The New York Times
  • Nina Alvarez, documentary director and journalist; professor, Columbia Journalism
  • Hibah Ansari, journalist, Sahan Journal
  • Tony Barboza, editorial writer, Los Angeles Times
  • Elisha Brown, reporter, Facing South
  • Daysi Calavia-Robertson, columnist, NJ Advance Media
  • Anika Exum, reporter, Nashville Youth and Education, The Tennessean, Gannett | USA Today Network
  • Melissa Gomez, reporter, Los Angeles Times
  • LeBron Hill, opinion columnist, The Tennessean
  • Diti Kohli, business general assignment reporter, Boston Globe
  • Nargis Rahman, reporter, WDET 101.9 FM
  • Miacel Spotted Elk, Indigenous affairs editorial intern, High Country News
  • Brandon Tensley, national political writer, CNN
  • Aallyah Wright, national rural issues reporter, Capital B News
  • Li Zhou, politics reporter, Vox
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Mel Grau is the senior product specialist at The Poynter Institute, focusing on Poynter's training experiences and newsletters. She previously edited The Cohort, Poynter’s biweekly…
Mel Grau

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