Akira Olivia Kumamoto is a video producer for McClatchy, stationed at The Sacramento Bee. She is a former BuzzFeed News live video producer. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism ('17).
Akira is also an essayist. Her work can be found in Catapult Magazine. 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 this LENNY Letter's podcast. 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 first chapbook of poetry published in May 2019 by Finishing Line Press. The work is a collection of 19 poems titled When you get here.
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).