«Class of 2015

Akoto Ofori-Atta

Akoto Ofori-Atta ('15)

senior editor, Essencefestival.com, Brooklyn, New York
aofori@stanford.edu, @KO_616

Akoto Ofori-Atta began her fellowship with a focus on digital news consumers’ appetite for stories about black experiences. To support this, she explored digital trends in storytelling (data journalism, digital photography, podcast production, etc.) and the history and traditions of black storytelling. Ofori-Atta also consulted with leading innovators in traditional media and in Silicon Valley startups to find solutions for diverse audience development. Later in her fellowship, she shifted her focus to think through the ways culture editors and reporters could use data-driven techniques for their work, an approach she explored in collaboration with Medium’s Matter magazine as a journalism advisor on a project called “18 in America.”

Journalism Challenge

Q: How can culture reporters writing about music, art, race and identity tell richer stories?

A: By applying a data-driven approach to their beats.

Learn more about this Journalism Challenge »

Posts by Akoto

Janelle Monáe

Using Data for the Culture Beat

Political, business, finance, health reporters and others use data for their beats, how can culture editors and reporters use data techniques to help us do our jobs better?

About Akoto

Akoto Ofori-Atta was just 10 years old when she won a Young Writer’s Award in Middlesex County, N.J., and decided that she would be a writer.  She graduated from Hampton University in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in print journalism.  She abandoned the newsroom for a short time — for a fancy job in communications at McGraw-Hill in New York City — with every intention of returning. And she did. After freelancing for a time, and receiving her master’s degree in communications, culture and technology from Georgetown University in 2011, she found herself working as an assistant editor at The Root, an African-American online news magazine formerly owned by The Washington Post. She wrote culture pieces, implemented an editorial fellowship program and spearheaded The Root’s social media strategy. In 2013, she left her full-time post to become editor of The Grapevine, the Root’s social media blog. Currently, she’s a senior editor at essence.com and a contributor to BuzzFeed.

Information on this page is from the fellowship year.