Ashonti Ford joined the Spectrum Bay News 9 team in August 2020 as the Polk County Reporter.

Although Ashonti now happily calls the Tampa Bay area her home, she grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, where she had her first internship at KGO ABC, San Francisco. In fact Ashonti accepted 4 other internship opportunities before landing her first full time reporting job.  Her journalism career has taken her to Maryland, Kansas, Illinois, Missouri and now Florida!

Ashonti first came to Florida in 2012 as an intern to work the Trayvon Martin Case. This is where she learned the true meaning of watchdog journalism and started building her own investigative skills.

Great storytelling is important to Ashonti because it builds trust within the community.

She has received multiple honorable mentions for her reports. She has led a number of award winning newscasts, and has even received community service awards throughout her career, but for Ashonti, the real prize is receiving viewer emails that say they learned something from her story.

Some of the most memorable stories for her include covering the first “swatting” case in America as a reporter in Wichita. She had the opportunity to meet with original student-led protesters against segregation for a story highlighting the “Dockum Drug Store Sit-Ins.” Some of whom have since died. And, she also had the privilege of being one of the select few to visit and report on the Smithsonian African American Museum before its doors were opened.

No matter what story she covers, Ashonti works hard to earn that trust every day.

When Ashonti is not covering her Polk County beat, she really loves to cook, dance and SHOP. She enjoys yoga and boxing as well as beach volleyball and rollerblading. She is most comfortable at the beach and is a huge fan of Trinidad's Carnival. She has been quite a few times and is always looking forward to going back for the next time. Beautiful people, beautiful beaches and amazing food.

Ashonti is also very close with her family including her mother, father, grandparents, her three special aunts and three great sisters. And when she visits home, Ashonti makes sure to ride the trolley to Pier 39 for clam chowder and Trish’s Donuts.