Michale Grant and Aryana Noroozi

Last Updated on June 16, 2022 by BVN

Amber Bolden |

Black Voice News (BVN)  is continuing its partnership with Report For America (RFA) this year adding its second and third corps members to the BVN/VOICE newsroom, Aryana Noroozi and Michael Grant. 

RFA is a national service program that connects emerging journalists with opportunities to join local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities. CatchLight supports the discovery and development of visual storytellers. Recently, RFA and CatchLight announced a partnership to support the RFA Corps/CatchLight Local Fellows program.

Aryana Noroozi and Michael Grant are the BVN and VOICE newsroom’s newest additions through the RFA/CatchLight partnership. Noroozi and Grant are both photojournalists by trade and training who bring unique perspectives and approaches to storytelling through visual imagery. 

Michael Grant

“The camera is a tool to build bridges, step into spaces, and give people a voice. Photography is a universal language and it provides me access into spaces where so many people don’t have access and I want to teach my community,” shared Grant.  

Grant earned his B.A. in Criminology from Hampton University and completed coursework for his MFA in Photography from Parsons School of Design. His images have been published in the New York Times, Good Morning America and more. He will cover the climate and environmental justice beat in the BVN/IEV newsroom. 

Grant found his calling behind the lens where many stories in the Black community start – at church. He shared that he was on his way to seminary school before he began shadowing a photographer from a church in Miami. He began taking photos of church services and from there, he was hooked. He recalled a job where he traveled to Ethiopia for work that cemented his goal to make a career in photojournalism. 

Grant highlights the importance of preserving legacies through photojournalism. “From the Black standpoint, history is something that has been ripped away from us so I understand the importance of being present at a certain place in time even though it may be overlooked by others,” he explained.

Aryana Noroozi

Noroozi was initially headed to law school when she decided to start a career in photojournalism. 

Originally from Southern California, she was traveling with family and friends abroad when she attended the World Press Photo Exhibition for the first time. She still recalls the human narratives and her strong emotional reaction to what she saw that day. “For so many of us, it is easy to judge. I think that’s why it’s important to [visually introduce] people to these polarizing topics. You have to show them.” Noroozi’s work directly aligns with CatchLight’s mission to encourage a more “nuanced and empathetic understanding of the world” through visual storytelling. 

Earning her B.A. from Hofstra and her MS from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, her work has centered around capturing the human experience, especially on issues related to immigration and addiction. She highlights the benefits of combining her background in the arts with her academic training and lived experience to inform her perspective. 

She was selected as a 2020 GroundTruth Project Migration Fellow for her work exploring the impact of remote learning on refugee students. Noroozi was also selected as a 2020 Pulitzer Crisis Reporting Fellow for her documentary photo project covering a rural community’s struggle with addiction and one mother’s story of defying the odds.

“It’s important to tell these stories because I offer something different than what the industry is typically dominated by,” explained Noroozi reflecting on the importance of diverse narratives in reporting. 

She is joining the BVN/VOICE newsroom covering the criminal  and social justice beat. Her perspectives driving visual narratives are welcome contributions to the newsroom. 

We encourage your support

“As members of the Black Voice News and VOICE team Aryana and Michael will use their photojournalism experience to further our efforts to move beyond traditional reporting in ways that immerse, engage, inform and inspire readers while also offering members of the community possible pathways for progress through solutions-oriented reporting centered in data when appropriate,” shared Executive Editor Stephanie Williams. 

Grant and Noroozi will be among the earliest contributors to the BVN/VOICE visual team.

BVN and VOICE depend on the support of readers like you in our continuing effort to expand coverage of stories important to this community.  Please follow this link to support the work of the Black Voice Newsroom’s Report for America and CatchLight corps members Michael Grant, Aryana Noroozi and Breanna Reeves who is remaining with the BVN and VOICE news team for a second year.

Amber Bolden's background includes program development, partnership development, journalism and workforce development. In her previous role, she co-created the CA Fwd Young Leaders Advisory Council and led CA Fwd’s Voices of Shared Prosperity series where she highlighted the diverse narratives of individuals who influence policy across California. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Redlands and a member of the Sankofa Birthworkers Collective of the Inland Empire. Amber is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She is deeply committed to the advancement and implementation of culturally conscious community-based solutions to help amplify the voices of historically marginalized people at the decision-making table.