Chevrolet and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) partnered in 2015 to create Discover The Unexpected (DTU), a fellowship program that pairs new roads and reporting. The program integrates the voices of journalism and communications students from HBCUs into the vibrant fabric of African-American storytelling. Now, four years in, program participants continue to find new roads that lead to the discovery of inspirational and informative stories.
The 2019 DTU road trip began with a boot camp in Atlanta where fellows met up with their Program Advisor, Lifestyle Influencer Fonzworth Bentley, and Program Ambassador, The Breakfast Club’s DJ Envy. Both are HBCU alums – of Morehouse College and Hampton University, respectively – who were excited to work with this year’s incredibly talented group of students. The fellows split up into two teams, picked up their $5,000 stipends and received the keys to an all-new 2019 Chevy Blazer and set out to discover untold stories in communities along their route.
The aspiring journalists, representing Bethune-Cookman, Hampton, North Carolina A&T, Howard, Morehouse and Florida A&M, spent eight weeks traveling from Atlanta to Chicago to Houston to Washington, D.C. They worked with NNPA publishers The Atlanta Voice, The Chicago Crusader, Houston Forward Times and The Washington Informer. These stalwarts of the black press hosted the fellows and mentored and coached them as they honed their research, interviewing and writing skills.
At the culmination of the summer internship, all roads ended in Detroit, Michigan for the closing ceremony at General Motors World Headquarters. There, the fellows were presented with $10,000 scholarship checks and certificates of completion.
Chevrolet’s sponsorship of this outstanding program speaks to the brand’s commitment to creating a platform for us to tell our stories. Fonzworth Bentley said it best, “They [Chevrolet] understand this history, they want to support this history and they’ve proven it by investing in this history.”
Congratulations to the 2019 fellows Emani Nichols, Tyla Barnes, Miana Massey, Sharon Joy Washington, Tedarius Abrams and Elae Hill. We are guessing that this talented bunch would co-sign DJ Envy’s description of DTU as, “a step in the right direction as far as modernizing the intern experience" and "an extremely innovative way of getting students [of color] a first-hand look at what the field of Media is comprised of.”
DTU 2020 is fast approaching, and we highly encourage interested students to apply for this exceptional internship program. Check out highlights from DTU 2019 while you keep an eye out for application details.