Akira Olivia Kumamoto is a video and print journalist. She's a BuzzFeed News live video production alumna. She was also a production assistant for BuzzFeed News's live Twitter show AM2DM. She is a recent graduate of UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism ('17).
Akira has interned with NBC Universal at the TODAY Show as an AAJA/NAHJ Diversity Fellow. She served as the assistant site editor for Oakland North from 2016-17, and was the 2015-16 UC Berkeley Women's Leadership Intensive Coordinator.
Akira published her first personal essay with Catapult Magazine in April 2018 and was featured on their front page. In 2016, Akira was named a finalist in the Region 11 Mark of Excellence Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her feature profile on artist Nia Imara. In 2017 Akira won third place at the AAJA National Convention Story Slam for her personal essay, "Paper Doll."
On the side, Akira is a poet and has received multiple poetry honors. Her work has been featured in The Rumpus, and can soon be heard in a LENNY Letter's podcast as a selected poet. She won first prize in the 2015 Pamela Maus Contest in Creative Writing for poetry and was a finalist in the 2015 Ina Coolbrith Poetry Competition. Her other hobbies include long distance running, reading, baking all the recipes she can get her hands on, performing vocal jazz and a cappella, photography, and petting every dog.
Akira graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of California, Davis in June 2015 with a degree in English and dual focus in poetry and critical theory. She was awarded the Lois Ann Lattin Rosenberg Outstanding Graduating Senior Award by UC Davis for her work on both a critical and a creative senior honors thesis. She was also awarded the Dean’s Merit Fellowship from UC Berkeley’s J-School.
Akira is a proud member of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA), the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and the Online News Association (ONA).