ABOVE: (l to r) Tedarius Abrams, Tyla Barnes, Emani Nichols, DJ Envy, Fonzworth Bentley, Miana Massey, Sharon Joy Washington and Elae C. Hill in front of the new 2019 Chevrolet Blazer
The Chevrolet Discover the Unexpected (DTU) Journalism Fellowship has returned for its fourth year, and this year the Houston Forward Times has been chosen as one of four African American-owned community newspapers that will help mentor several students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) from across the country.
The DTU Fellowship takes place from June 6 to Aug. 1, 2019, with the Houston Forward Times being joined by the Atlanta Voice, Chicago Crusader and The Washington Informer to work with the selected DTU Fellows who are young aspiring journalists. The entire fellowship consists of two separate four-week assignments with the four respective newspapers, where the fellows will sharpen their reporting and media skills and have a platform to create and share optimistic stories while reinforcing Chevy’s continued commitment to the African American community.
Out of hundreds of applicants, Chevrolet and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) selected six students from HBCUs for the 2019 DTU Fellowship. Those students have been broken up into two teams of three people – Team Ingenious and Team Young at Heart.
For Team Ingenious, who the Houston Forward Times will have the opportunity to work directly with and mentor, the students are: Miana Massey (Howard University), Emani Nichols (Morehouse College) and Tyla Barnes (Hampton University). For Team Young at Heart, the students are: Elae C. Hill (North Carolina A&T), Sharon Joy Washington (Florida A&M) and Tedarius Abrams (Bethune-Cookman University).
The 2019 DTU Fellows will have the exciting opportunity to travel across the country in an all-new 2019 Chevrolet Blazer, which is the boldest, most progressive expression of Chevrolet’s designs. A wide stance, tight proportions and dramatic sculpting define the model, and the diverse trim range complements the Blazer’s versatility with choices for varied lifestyles and personal preferences. The Chevy Blazer is equipped for future journalists with a built-in infotainment system featuring an 8-inch-diagonal color touchscreen and a Wi-Fi hotspot, as well as cargo space for media equipment and other gear. The Fellows will not only drive in style, but will work with NNPA editors and reporters to help discover and share positive, inspirational and relevant stories from African American communities during their eight-week summer internship.
“Our partnership with the NNPA continues to provide a unique platform to connect with young and remarkable storytellers,” said Paul Edwards, U.S. vice president of Chevrolet Marketing. “From the inaugural launch at Howard University to the inclusion of all the HBCUs, it is Chevrolet’s pleasure to partner with members of the African American community, ensuring a legacy is established for generations to come. We’re thrilled to meet this year’s group of fellows and immerse them in all things Chevrolet.”
Chevrolet will also award each DTU Fellow a $10,000 scholarship and a $5,000 stipend. More importantly, the Houston Forward Times and the other participating NNPA member newspapers will provide each of their respective journalism students with the tools and experience that they need to become stellar media professionals and share stories that shatter perceptions, jump-start their journalism careers and encourage everyone to Discover the Unexpected.
“The NNPA is excited to partner with Chevrolet for another year in support of young journalists to amplify community voices across our country,” said NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. “Having these young journalists in our newsrooms working side by side with our editors and writers is inspiring and we are committed to including young storytellers’ voices in our reporting.”
Disc jockey and music producer DJ Envy, a co-host of the syndicated radio show “The Breakfast Club,” is serving as the program’s national spokesperson. Musician and author Fonzworth Bentley is serving as the DTU Fellows’ Road Trip Advisor.
Both gentlemen are HBCU alums — DJ Envy graduated from Virginia’s Hampton University and Bentley is a Morehouse College graduate.
The journey for the six DTU Fellows has already begun.
Last week, the DTU Fellows were flown to Atlanta, where they participated in a two-day intensive journalism boot camp training with Chevrolet and NNPA leadership, including Houston Forward Times publisher and CEO Karen Carter Richards.
While there, the DTU Fellows learned about their summer assignments and participated in structured activities focused on news media training and developing storytelling strategies, before they hit the road to begin their reporting assignments.
With the help of NNPA editors and reporters, their stories will be featured on the NNPA website (www.nnpa.org/chevydtu), and for Team Ingenious, their stories and work will be featured on the Houston Forward Times’ website (www.forwardtimes.com) throughout the summer.
In its fourth year, the annual DTU program has awarded more than nearly $400,000 in scholarships and stipends since the program’s inception in 2016. The program started with a select number of schools and, based on the overwhelming response, the online submission process was opened to all HBCU students in their sophomore through senior years with an interest in journalism, communications, mass media or visual arts.
Any student who is at least 18 years of age, attending an HBCU in their sophomore through senior year with an interest in journalism or mass communication is encouraged to apply for next year’s program.
Students who are multimedia savvy and have a passion for storytelling will also be considered. Interested students must complete an online application process via the NNPA website. Students must submit a resume with GPA, a video submission, a technology/social media profile and a writing sample. Six students will be selected based on combined application scores. The selected DTU Fellows will be notified via email with the official start date of the program.
To follow the journey of the fellows, follow them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @ChevroletDTU. #ChevyBlazer. To learn more about the Discover the Unexpected Journalism Fellowship and to apply for next year’s fellowship, please visit www.nnpa.org/chevydtu.
Chevrolet’s Discover the Unexpected is the journey of a lifetime. The all-new 2019 Chevrolet Blazer will take all six of these chosen HBCU Journalism Fellows on the road and provide them with a premium experience to Discover the Unexpected and tell stories that are important to the overall African American experience. We are looking forward to what they produce!