Our Team

Bloc By Block News is a media cooperative owned by newsreaders and news producers. We’re helping Marylanders make informed decisions in communities through our newsletter, social media, and a mobile app (coming soon).

Senior Leadership Team

Kevon Paynter

Executive Director and Co-founder

Kevon Paynter is an entrepreneur and journalist living in Maryland. He’s the founder of Bloc By Block News Maryland, a media cooperative uplifting local news and neighborhood voices.

Kevon’s published articles for Yes! Magazine and the Solution Journalism Network, and attracted readers to stories that highlighted everyday people who became resilient and organized in the face of societal problems.

He graduated from Howard University with a degree in Communications & Culture and studied for his Master’s degree in journalism at Georgetown University. You can find him playing pick-up basketball outside or connect with him on Twitter @kevonpaynter.

Read Kevon’s posts here.

Christina Sturdivant Sani

Editorial Director and Co-founder

Christina Sturdivant Sani is a writer and editor who has contributed to nearly two dozen publications including Washington Post, the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper, and Bloomberg’s CityLab.

At Bloc by Block News, Christina is responsible for setting and implementing the vision for the cooperative’s editorial initiatives. In this role, she’s intentional about amplifying the voices of people—both writers and subjects—who have historically been silenced by white-led media outlets.

Christina is also a podcast junkie, audiobook lover, coffee shop connoisseur, and proud Washington, D.C. native. She studied print journalism at Hampton University.

Read Christina’s posts here.

Diara J. Townes

Community Engagement Manager

Diara Townes is an award-winning engagement journalist who currently works as a program manager for Aspen Digital. Previously, she was an investigative researcher and the community engagement lead for the nonprofit misinformation research organization First Draft. 

At Bloc by Block News, Diara builds relationships with community leaders and residents of Baltimore City by developing effective editorial engagement strategies.

Diara has a B.S. in marine and environmental science from Hampton University and an M.A. in Social [now Engagement] Journalism from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York, where she currently teaches an advanced research course.

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