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HBCU Students "Discover The Unexpected" with the Black Press

Noni Marshall and Alexa Imani Spencer (NNPA/DTU Journalism Fellows) | 6/16/2017, 6 a.m.
The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) kicked off the second year of the “Discover The Unexpected” (DTU) Journalism Fellowship program ...
The 2017 NNPA “Discover The Unexpected Journalism Fellows (left-right) Noni Marshall, Alexa Spencer, Darrell Williams, Tiana Hunt, Ayron Lewallen, Taylor Burris, Jordan Fisher and Kelsey Jones. Freddie Allen/NNPA

— The final day of the Detroit immersion event included an inspirational speech from Dr. Chavis at GM headquarters. The DTU fellows sat quietly around a conference room table, focused closely on his words, as he reminded them that they represented an emerging generation of journalists. Chavis also noted that this year marks the 190th anniversary of the Black Press in America.

“This is an opportunity not just to reaffirm [our] 190 year legacy, but to represent that legacy in new and more profound ways that match the challenges and opportunities we face in our communities,” Chavis said.

The DTU fellows were given the opportunity to meet with representatives from the NNPA member newspapers, where they will work this summer; Shalon Bell from The Atlanta Voice; Adria Jervay of The Carolinian, based in Raleigh, N.C.; David Baker of The Louisiana Weekly, based in New Orleans; and Kevin McNeir from The Washington Informer, based in Washington, D.C.

In these breakout sessions, the senior newspaper staffers shared their expectations with their new writers. Anxious to get started, the fellows asked questions and marveled at the history of the newspapers they were soon to join. There was a fresh excitement in the air after the student scholars connected with the editors and representatives from the NNPA member publications.

Next on the schedule, was a trip to the Content Studio, an organization within GM, that develops communications resources for the brand and improves how the company operates efficiently, strategically, and consistently within the public social web. There, the fellows were able to see how the marketing side of Chevrolet has expanded, technologically, by partnering with many different agencies in order to have a worldwide impact.

According to Alexander, the NNPA/DTU journalism program is an extension of the partnerships that Chevrolet holds in high esteem.

“As a brand, [Discover The Unexpected], ties into our philosophy of finding new roads and ingenuity,” Alexander said. “We, as a brand, feel like this is something important that we are committed to.”

As the trip came to an end, the DTU fellows shared final hugs and goodbyes. For some of them, the Detroit Immersion event was a life-changing experience; most of them had never been exposed to the Motor City’s rich history.

For all of them, one thing was true: “Discover The Unexpected” was far more than just a program. It’s a family.

“I was impressed by the immense love we have received from the whole General Motors staff, NNPA, and the fellows,” said Jordan Fisher, who will join Kelsey Jones at The Atlanta Voice. “I don’t take that for granted. It’s refreshing to see that and feel it.”

To learn more about NNPA “Discover The Unexpected” Journalism Fellowship program, visit www.nnpa.org/dtu.

Alexa Spencer and Noni Marshall are 2017 DTU Journalism Fellows and Howard University students, who are creating content for The Washington Informer this summer. Follow Alexa on Twitter @alexaimani. Follow Noni on Twitter @noni_nnpadtu.