A storyteller's story

Posts Tagged ‘Akilah Johnson’

68Blocks: Life, Death, Hope

In audio, multimedia, print, video on January 27, 2012 at 9:53 pm

68 Blocks

I was part of a team of Boston Globe reporters, photographers, videographers, and data visualization specialists, who spent 2012 focused on the Bowdoin-Geneva section of Dorchester, a neighborhood often identified with the violence that erupts with disconcerting regularity and not with the people who live there. The Globe rented an apartment in the neighborhood, where reporter Meghan E. Irons and myself, lived from May to September. The result was 68 Blocks: Life, Death, Hope, a beautiful, interactive tableau chronicling life during one of the neighborhood’s most turbulent seasons, the summer.

Role: Reporter, writer, researcher, videographer

Awards: Journalistic innovation first-place win from the National Headliner Awards; Unity Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association; Honorable Mention multimedia, 2013 competition for Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism; NABJ Salute to Excellence Finalist; 2013 Dart Award Finalist.

Postscript: I have returned to Bowdoin-Geneva several times since the series published, witnessing the rebirth of a blighted lot, a mother’s worst fear realized, and a young man who defeated the odds.

Grand Ave News

In multimedia on August 24, 2010 at 10:08 am

Grand Ave News is a hyper-local news website started in 2009 to inform people about what’s going on in and around the West Grove, which holds some of the richest history of Miami’s earliest African-American and Bahamian settlers. As one of Miami’s oldest neighborhoods, it’s evolved through segregation, the Civil Rights Movement, urban decay and sprawling development. Grand Ave News is named after Grand Avenue, the West Grove’s main thoroughfare.

Role: assistant news director (founding)
Recognition: J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism grant recipient

Greening the Grid

In multimedia, video on August 24, 2010 at 9:15 am

Greening the Grid was a project done in conjunction with the U.S. State Department examining alternative energy uses and energy-saving projects nationally and internationally. The website documents sustainable energy practices in the United States and the Czech Republic as a way to show how the need for sources of renewable energy is critical as urban centers grow on both continents.

 Role: videographer, video editor


In video on August 24, 2010 at 9:13 am

Sky Choi is a 12-year-old college student. Yes, 12.

Reclaiming Land: Amidst the Railroad Ties

In video on August 24, 2010 at 8:28 am

Congestion and construction are the fiber of city life, but a large herb farm grows amid Miami-Dade County’s concrete jungle. GROW, or Green Railway Organic Workshop, is a 2.5 acre farm growing between industrial warehouses near Miami International Airport.

Started in 2007 on an abandoned railway track, GROW is now home to more than 9,000 herb plants. It cost more than $100,00 to start. The grassroots organization hopes to reclaim up to 100 acres of vacant railway within the next several years.

GROW’s mission, however, is more about people than the planet. The farm, which is in the process of applying to be a nonprofit organization, has a strong educational component. Students of all ages and skill-level learn about agriculture by preparing the land, planting, watering and harvesting the more than 15 varieties of herbs grown at the farm.

Those herbs are then packed and distributed to grocery stores and restaurants through Rock Garden Warehouse, a wholesale distributor next door to the garden and owned by GROW Founder Charlie Coiner.

Friendship opens door to building opportunity

In print on August 24, 2010 at 1:10 am

Byline: By Akilah Johnson Staff Writer
Date: Saturday, October 31, 2009

When his longtime buddy wanted to break into the school construction business in Broward County, School Board member Bob Parks stepped in to help.
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Out of work

In video on August 23, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Angie Salicetti was an urban planner who became a Mary Kay associate thanks to The Great Recession. Unwilling to give up on her dream job, Salicetti decided to sell cosmetics until the market opens back up.

Miami’s oldest church

In video on August 23, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church is the oldest house of worship in Miami-Dade County. The church, located in Miami’s West Grove neighborhood, turned 114 years-old in 2009. The video aired on UMTV’s Newsvision.

Role: videographer, video editor

Teens’ sexuality issues go with them to school

In print on August 23, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Byline: By Akilah Johnson Staff Writer
Date: Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A single gunshot fired into the torso of one 15-year-old by another in a crowded hallway at Dillard High School immediately ignited concerns about violence in South Florida’s public schools.
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Violence and tragedy: Kids find ways to cope

In print on August 23, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Byline: By Akilah Johnson Sun Sentinel
Date: Friday, May 14, 2010
The tragedies are over, but the mourning continues.

In the past 18 months, South Florida students have been rocked by a rapid succession of shooting deaths, fatal stabbings, drownings, brutal beatings and burnings.
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