Planet Detroit welcomes community journalists to inaugural ‘Reporting from Where We Live’ class

Planet Detroit is thrilled to announce the selection of five outstanding individuals in our first-ever class designed to equip local residents with community reporting skills.

We’re partnering with Cleveland’s The Land on this special opportunity to join their “Reporting from Where We Live” class which trains local residents who want to write about their neighborhoods, local government, civic issues, and more. 

Participants will work with experienced journalists to learn how to write a story and get published in Planet Detroit. Each will receive a stipend when they publish their final piece. 

We had more than 40 applications for this class and hope to run it again in the future!

Meet the cohort:

Malikah A. Shabazz

Malikah A. Shabazz

Malikah Shabazz is a Detroit-born filmmaker whose interest in media led her to live in New York for 9 1/2 years, where she studied and created film projects. She has worked as a television producer for a major cable network. She is the curator of #BilalianExperience, a platform dedicated to celebrating and promoting the narrative of Black American Muslims in American Media. Malikah is a 2021 Fellow of the MPAC Hollywood Bureau/Blackhouse Inaugural Television Screenwriting Lab for Black Muslims. Malikah is a 2021 Fellow of the MPAC Hollywood Bureau/Blackhouse Inaugural Television Screenwriting Lab for Black Muslims.

Why Malikah decided to join this community journalism class:

“Not only do I want to learn more about journalism, but I would like to tell a story about a neighborhood from the perspective of someone who is actually invested in its success.”

Maddie Boyer

Maddie Boyer

Maddie Boyer is an engineer working and living in the city of Detroit. When she isn’t working or biking, she’s writing non fiction and poetry about anything she crosses through.

Why Maddie decided to join this community journalism class:

“I’m grateful to be able to share perspective about my neighborhood here in Detroit. On a personal level, I want to expand my writing skills. Learning to write a pitch and creating a finished piece that can be shared with an online publication has been a longtime goal.”

Valaurian Waller

Valaurian Waller

Native Detroiter Valaurian Waller is a documentary photographer whose work examines social inequities in the city of Detroit. Self-taught, she is a Foundry Photo Workshop alumna (2021), a Facing Change: Documenting Detroit Fellow (2018), and a member of Diversity Photo and Women Photograph.

Her most recent work is on display at the Detroit Historical Museum as part of The Hustle exhibition (2023). Valaurian’s photos have been published in the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, The Detroit Free Press, Bridge Michigan, Bridge Detroit, and Detroit Catholic, among others.

Why Valaurian decided to join this community journalism class:

“I applied to this class to gain knowledge and experience with traditional journalism. I hope that by this end, I will clearly understand what it takes to mine for stories and develop them into articles. I hope to understand the traditional article format focusing on solutions-based journalism.”

Cheri Hollie

Cheri Hollie

Cheri Hollie is a recent Wayne State graduate. She studied communication studies and public relations as an undergrad and currently works as a digital consultant.

Why Cheri decided to join this community journalism class:

“I applied for this class because I think it is important to tell and share stories about the community and its environment.”

Michelle Jones

Michelle Jones

Michelle is a resident of Highland Park, where she also works at Soulardarity as the Energy Democracy Program Coordinator. She works to be a partner in putting Highland Park on the map as a global leader in community-owned solar energy. Michelle is the mother of 8 and grandmother of 19, and loves every minute of it. She is outspoken, passionate, and enjoys living life to the fullest.

Why Michelle decided to join this community journalism class:

“I want to gain more knowledge and a better understanding of how to write in a way that effectively uplifts the positive things that are happening in my community, and keep people informed and motivated to actively participate.”

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