Nisha Balaram

Nisha Balaram


Nisha Balaram is a documentary filmmaker and environmental reporter.

Her most recent reporting projects address new agroforestry techniques in Panamá, zero waste cities in the Philippines, and the problems with bioplastics. Her work in Panamá was featured on KALW’s “One Planet” episode and received the Alfred Hopkins Award for Reporting in Latin America.

In 2019, Balaram received the Chauncey Bailey Fellowship, awarded to a filmmaker who demonstrates leadership to shed light on racial and ethnic injustice. Last year, she received the North Star Fellowship through the Points North Institute, which, in partnership with Kickstarter and A&E Indie Films, mentors directors working on their first feature film. Balaram’s film highlights how barbers in the South are finding new ways to help clients suffering from thoughts of suicide and depression.

Prior to graduate school, Balaram worked for seven years in the racial justice and equity advocacy sector. At the Greenlining Institute, a policy institute working for racial and economic justice, Balaram worked on legislative campaigns addressing language issues in ballot initiative petitions and co-managed the organization’s first Political Action Committee (PAC). At PolicyLink, a national research and action institute, she helped to convene the Health Equity Action Network and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Ambassadors for Health Equity Fellowship, groups of leaders looking to move the needle on health determinants nationwide.

Other areas of her equity work portfolio include research for the Data Disaggregation and Design project for the 2020 Census, editorial support for the Blue Ribbon Panel on Transparency, Accountability, and Fairness in Law Enforcement, and co-authorship of Achieving Health Equity in Promise Neighborhoods. Balaram worked as a coordinator for the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color (ABMoC). ABMoC is a network of more than 200 advocacy organizations and community leaders who transform state and local policies that are failing boys and men of color. She also served on the editorial board for the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights blog, Ella’s Voice.

By developing expertise in communications-related work, Balaram realized her passion for journalism and documentary film. She has worked as a freelance videographer for University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE), focusing on topics related to rangeland management and urban gardening. Her love of food justice issues brought her to help co-design and serve on the teaching team for Edible Education 101, a course co-founded by Alice Waters and Will Rosenzweig, both pioneers in the food space. Her written work has been featured in Mongabay, Capitol Weekly, Nob Hill Gazette, Tiny Buddha, Ella’s Voice, Oakland North, Mission Local, and the East Bay Express.

You can view her most recent work here:


  • UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism (2018 - 2020)

  • UC Berkeley, BA in Sociology, BA in Interdisciplinary Field Studies (2007 - 2011)


  • Alfred Hopkins Award for Reporting in Latin America, 2020

  • North Star Fellowship, 2020

  • Chauncey Bailey Fellowship, 2019

  • Dean's Merit Fellowship, 2018 - 2020


  • Asian American Journalists Association, Member

  • Awesöme Orchestra Collective, Violinist


Biodiversity, Bioplastics, Environmental Health, Environmental Justice, Food Systems, Human Rights Issues, Racial Justice, climate change, mental health