A storyteller's story

Posts Tagged ‘Akilah Johnson’

Badge is no shield for black officers

In print on August 23, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Byline: Akilah Johnson Staff Writer
Date: April 18, 2005
For Sgt. Michael Coleman and Officer Terance Scott, being black men in police blue is tougher since the death of Jerrod Miller.

They’re trying to reconcile their feelings of loss over the death of a black teenager shot by a white co-worker with their loyalty to the department while warding off increasing criticism from some black residents who characterize them as nothing more than sellouts.
Read the rest of this entry »

Can schools afford a four-day week?

In print on August 23, 2010 at 11:10 am

Byline: By Akilah Johnson Staff Writer
Date: Sunday, April 19, 2009

Two Pompano Beach High students sat in their Web design class, adjusting images, picking background colors and wondering what Broward County would look like if every public high school went to the four-day schedule they already have.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hip-Hop Voices

In print on August 23, 2010 at 10:10 am

This award-winning project was an offshoot of a fellowship from the Annenberg Institute for Justice and Journalism at the University of Southern California. Photographer John L. White, a Racial Justice Fellow, and I documented how several South Florida rap artists explore racism and poverty in their work.

Over several months, we followed the artists as they struggled to address important issues through an increasingly commercial genre. The project won the 2007 Florida Society of Newspaper Editors Special Sections category.

To see full-size PDFs of this special section, click on the links (headlines) below.

Read the rest of this entry »

Living: Builders of Hope

In multimedia, video on August 22, 2010 at 9:08 am

Builders of Hope, a non-profit organization in Raleigh, NC, relocates and recycles homes slated for demolition, offering working-class families the chance to live in affordable houses in safe neighborhoods.

While preserving as much of the home’s original wooden structure as possible, the organization upgrades salvaged homes and utilizes green techniques. All houses are sold at prices high enough to recapture the building costs but well below their new appraised values.

This video was produced by Shell Zun Zhu and Akilah Johnson for the multimedia project Greening the Grid.


In video on August 22, 2010 at 8:52 am

The award-winning Raider Rooks Chess Team at Edison Park Elementary School in Miami struggled to make it to tournaments due to budget cuts.

At the school, chess is a tool used to boost self-esteem, improve academics and behavior as well as expose students to the world outside of their impoverished neighborhood.

The elementary school sits wedged between an Interstate 95 barrier wall and a public housing project in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood.

Unsung Heroes

In audio, multimedia, print, video on August 21, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Unsung Heroes was a five-day series completed for the Sun Sentinel that profiles five Broward County School District employees who help keep schools running while playing big roles in students’ daily lives. 

The secretary, security specialist, custodian, cafeteria manager and bus driver featured are among 14,000 non-instructional employees who play unheralded roles for Broward Schools, the nation’s sixth largest school district.

Role: project manager, content producer, audio editor, videographer, video editor, writer

Special Olympics Live

In multimedia, video on August 21, 2010 at 3:19 pm

live.specialolympics.org is one of the largest documentary web projects ever attempted. More than 300 volunteers and a dedicated group of faculty and coaches worked on this project for almost two years.

The website grew out of the desire of Special Olympics Vice President Peter Wheeler to share the magic of the World Games with a worldwide audience of athletes, their friends, families, classmates and caring people.

Role: content producer, videographer and video editor
Recognition: Online Journalism Awards Finalist, Student Journalism, Large Team.

West Grove 2008

In audio, multimedia on August 21, 2010 at 3:02 pm

More than 30 students from the University of Miami spent Election Day 2008 documenting the thoughts, reactions and interactions of people who live in west Coconut Grove, Miami’s oldest black community. Bahamian settlers founded the area now simply known as the West Grove in the late 1800s before Miami was a city.

The goal of West Grove 2008 was to give voice to an often-overlooked community, allowing residents to share their perspectives on the most memorable presidential election in modern times.

Role: story team leader and audio editor

Multimedia Standards

In audio, multimedia on August 18, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Multimedia Standards was created in Spring 2009 by Rich Beckman’s visual journalism class at the University of Miami School of Communication to offer insights and advice from industry leaders on multimedia journalism techniques, conferences and awards, project critiques as well as an in-depth list of resources.

As a student in the class, I interviewed one of the practitioners in the field, gathering and editing audio as well as helping to plan, research and design the site.

Role: content producer and audio editor

City Concrete Gardens

In multimedia, video, web design on August 18, 2010 at 10:40 pm

City Concrete Gardens is a documentary web project that examines how community gardens stimulate economic development and improve public health in Miami-Dade County’s low-income and minority communities. It is the capstone project for my master’s degree in journalism from the University of Miami in Spring 2010.

I gathered and produced all the content—both written and filmed—as well as designed, planned and programmed the site. This website is culmination of three semesters of very, very long days spent studying multimedia journalism— everything from usability, navigation, design, production to audio and storytelling.

Role: producer/project manager, videographer, web designer, programmer and writer