Doni Holloway’s interest in journalism began when he was six or seven years old. At that age, he was the editor of Harambee, his family’s newsletter. During this time, he fell in love with and realized the power of words. His intellectual talents were also realized from a young age when he received the President’s Education Award and joined the National Junior Beta Club. Holloway made his first public speech as a fourth grader and wrote his first book, “The Ways of Life,” when he was just 10 years old.
Today, as an award-winning journalist, Holloway has interviewed top thought leaders and newsmakers ranging from Dr. Jennifer Wiseman, NASA’s senior project scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope, to Richard Blanco, President Obama’s second inaugural poet. He was the first person in North Carolina and the youngest reporter to interview Blanco. Other memorable interviewees include Father Paul Mueller, religious superior of the Jesuit community at the Vatican Observatory, Bishop Michael Curry, the first African American presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Bob Dotson, former NBC Today show anchor, and Soledad O’Brien, former CNN anchor. He recorded, edited, and produced these as a one-man-band.
As a seventh and eighth grader, he anchored, produced, and directed “Bucks News,” Sycamore Lane Middle School’s student newscast. He had only been at the school for two weeks when the media center director sent an email to teachers asking for good candidates to audition for a spot on the news. Holloway’s Academically & Intellectually Gifted (AIG) Language Arts teacher selected him. In this role, he wrote stories, edited submissions from students, conducted interviews, created teases, ensured the overall success of the show, and changed the format of the broadcast from recorded to live. Aware of the increasing usefulness of social media in journalism, he established a Facebook page, which was the first of its kind in the district. The show’s social media encouraged the student body to vote and share their opinions on various issues. For his broadcast delivery, he received accolades from the principal, teachers and students, and a congressman. The broadcast also provided the opportunity for him to speak at community events.
While still in eighth grade, Holloway was accepted into the local early college, a school that would allow him to graduate from high school with an associate degree. While taking his first college class in ninth grade, he wrote and edited submissions for the school’s newspaper, Lions Pride. He also wrote and took photographs for the campus yearbook. In addition to this, he presented his award-winning “Spotlight on Education on WLNC.” For this ongoing assignment, he interviewed staff/students and delivered his radio spots on the air. Holloway also served as a special correspondent for The Laurinburg Exchange.
In 2011, he won the national Teen Kids News Reporter Contest, in which America voted for the winner. His win was based on a one minute video entry about the importance of education. In June of 2012, he was honored by the N.C. Department of Justice & Attorney General Roy Cooper for his video entry in the state’s first “Stop Rx Drug Abuse” PSA competition. His video submission, for which he conducted in-depth, investigative style research on the effects of prescription drug abuse on teenagers, placed in the top 10 from over 150 entries.
In 2013, he was nominated as one of 250 National Youth Correspondents to attend the Washington Journalism & Media Journalism (WJMC) at George Mason University. His selection was based on “academic excellence and a sincere interest in journalism.” While attending WJMC, he auditioned and was selected for the coveted opportunity to introduce Hoda Kotb, WJMC keynote speaker and NBC Today show anchor, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. While at the Press Club, Kotb told Holloway that she would “see him at 30 Roc!”
Because Holloway so impressed conference directors, he was selected for a competitive spot on the Youth Advisory Board. In this position, he worked with executive staff to recruit speakers/students and to develop the program’s curriculum. Following his year long term on the board, he was hired to return to WJMC as a staff member. In this role, he greeted speakers/faculty/students, further developed curriculum, worked to facilitate a politics panel at the National Press Club, and created social media updates. He also interviewed Jamie Smith, former Deputy White House Press Secretary & Special Assistant to President Barack Obama. For his work, Holloway was a two-time recipient of the WJMC Award for Outstanding Leadership & Contributions.
In 2014, he was selected from over 10,000 applicants as one of 100 students nationwide to attend the Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey & ESSENCE Magazine (DDA). Media stars including Steve Harvey; Mikki Taylor, ESSENCE Magazine editor-at-large; Dr. Steve Perry, CNN education contributor; celebrities; educators; leaders; and Disney executives convened in Chicago, IL to select the class. In multiple intense rounds of judging, the distinguished panel sought inspiring, intellectually curious, compassionate, young leaders and students with unique credentials and “a winning combination of attributes that reflect strong character, positive attitude, and persistence in taking advantage of opportunities.” The program helps ambitious students to dream big.
While attending the Disney Dreamers Academy, Holloway’s coverage of the program’s opening ceremony was published on the Walt Disney website. He was also one of five students invited to have breakfast with Harvey and members of his radio team at the ESPN Club. While there, Holloway was selected to take photos for the talk show host’s social media accounts.
In 2014, he was chosen from a record pool of over 300 applicants as one of 42 students to attend the Asian American Journalists Association’s JCamp, an all-expenses-paid multicultural journalism program aimed at increasing newsroom diversity. Selection was based on journalistic, leadership, and academic achievements. As a JCamp participant, he received hands on, experiential training in Boston from many of the nation’s top journalists, producers, and executives. While there, he filed live shots and shot an entire story on an iPhone about the taxi industry vs. Uber.
While in early college, he emceed and spoke at various community events and functions. Holloway received a standing ovation after delivering an excerpt from the “Drum Major Instinct,” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was named to the President’s list, served as a junior marshall to the president and faculty of the college, and received an invitation to join Phi Theta Kappa.
In May of 2015, he wrote an essay and submitted it in the Richmond Community College (RCC) Strategic Planning Essay Contest, which was created by RCC’s Planning and Accountability Committee. Out of more than 30 entries, his piece was chosen as the 1st place winner. For this win, he was invited to speak to Dr. Dale McInnis, President of RCC; and the Board of Trustees. His presentation focused on how the college can further fulfill its mission to provide educational opportunities, cultural enrichment, and workforce development.
In 2015, Holloway was invited as one of 12 students nationwide to participate in the Chuck Stone Program for Diversity in Education & Media. The program honors Chuck Stone, a well respected journalist, who was the founder and first president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). While attending the program, consisting of 50 hours of multi-platform storytelling, Holloway was voted by his peers to receive the Chuck Stone Diversity Award. The honor is presented to the student who most embodies Stone. He also received the Chuck Stone Best Photographer Award.
In the summer of 2015, Holloway joined NBC News in Washington, D.C. as an Emma L. Bowen Foundation Scholar. The prestigious foundation partners promising talent with top corporate media sponsors. In his role, he works at the network level in various departments of media throughout college. He remembers receiving a call from NBCUniversal saying, “it was surreal hearing that NBC4 wanted me to join their bureau.” One of his most memorable moments occurred in 2015 when Jackie Bradford, the station’s president, asked him to write a poem for NBC4’s summer kick-off. Holloway was eager to accept the challenge of writing the poem on a two hour deadline and was later asked to present it before all staff.
In 2015, he entered in and won the UNC School of Media & Journalism Instagram Rebranding Contest. His entry was selected as one of the top five from over 60 submissions. For this honor, he was invited to share insight with Susan King, dean of the UNC MJ-school, about fulfilling the school’s mission for innovative instruction.
In the summer of 2016, he returned to the nation’s capital to work with the NBC News network political unit.
In the fall of 2016, he was chosen as one of about 25 students to have dinner with the North Carolina Supreme Court and Press Association. While attending, he received the opportunity to speak before the justices about how the media can have a better relationship with the courts. Also in 2016, he received the Sharoky Fellowship, which provides summer enrichment opportunities for 12 students interning in Washington, D.C. The internship program was created by UNC Board of Trustees member, Bill Keyes.
In his spare time, Holloway enjoys reading, writing, and dreaming of the future. He also has an affinity for motivational speaking and volunteering. One of his most memorable experiences was teaching a preparatory class to help local students succeed on their state standardized exams. Another enjoyable experience was calling first generation college students from around the state to help them navigate their way into college.
Holloway is an anchor, managing editor and executive producer of Carolina Now, UNC’s first ever daily newscast. He anchored the first installment of that show, making history. The broadcast is completely social media driven and delivers news in creative, innovative, strategic, and new ways. In this role, he manages a team of reporters/graphics editors and develops content that drives viewers from social media to television. He occasionally hosts the show from other states. As a reporter for Carolina Week and Sports Xtra, he has reported on various topics ranging from Hurricane Matthew to the 2016 Presidential Election. He is also an anchor for Carolina Week. In January, Holloway travelled to the nation’s capital to report on the 2017 Presidential Inauguration and the Women’s March on Washington. In March, he attended the NABJ Multimedia Short Course at A&T University. While there, he anchored and produced the program’s special 25th Anniversary newscast.
In May of 2017, Holloway participated in the inaugural Bloomberg-UNC Business Journalism Diversity fellowship where he learned about using the Bloomberg terminal, covering business, stocks, and finance from professionals including Matt Winkler, the founder of Bloomberg News. During the summer of 2017, Holloway received the Emma Award for Storytelling in New York City for his stories about the impact of federal budgets cuts on the Meals on Wheels program and for a piece on distracted driving. From June to August of 2017, he completed his third summer at NBC Washington, interning at the network level. In this role, he coordinated coverage with producers in New York and D.C., ensured correspondents made air times at the White House, on Capitol Hill, and at the Pentagon, and trained incoming desk assistants. In August, he was a participant in the NABJ Student Multimedia Project in New Orleans, where he worked on a tight deadline to file multi platform stories. As an “NABJ baby”, he interviewed Sarah Glover, president of NABJ, as well as Roland Martin, a commentator for TV One. While in NOLA, he also auditioned and was selected to anchor the NABJ News broadcast at WDSU (NBC affiliate), which aired daily throughout the convention hotel.
He is a member of the Carolina Millennial Scholars Program and the Carolina Association of Black Journalists. Holloway graduated Magna Cum Laude from early college high school with an associate degree. He currently studies journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he has been named on the Dean’s List and received the Hayden B. Renwick Award for Academic Achievement.