The NNPA’s 2017 Discover The Unexpected Journalism Fellows (from left-right): Noni Marshall (Howard University); Alexa Imani Spencer (Howard University); Darrell Williams (Morehouse College); Tiana Hunt (Clark Atlanta University); Ayron Lewallen (Morehouse College); Taylor Burris (Spelman College); Jordan Fisher (Clark Atlanta University); and Kelsey Jones (Spelman College). (260711)
Credit: (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)

The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), in partnership with Chevrolet, recently announced that the 2018 Discover The Unexpected (DTU) Journalism Fellowship will now accept applications from communications and journalism students attending any one of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) across the country.

In 2016, the DTU Journalism Fellowship launched at Howard University. The following year, the program expanded to include Morehouse College, Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University. Now communications and journalism students at more than 100 HBCUs can apply.

“This year’s program also provides an opportunity for the aspiring, young journalists to look beyond the newsroom for story ideas,” said Michelle Alexander, the diversity marketing manager for Chevrolet. “They will have an opportunity to travel across several states in the all-new 2018 Chevrolet Equinox to discover inspiring stories along the way.”

Hip-hop legend MC Lyte will also return as the program’s ambassador.

For the third year in a row, The Washington Informer and The Atlanta Voice will participate in the program; the New York Amsterdam News in New York City and The New Journal & Guide in Norfolk, Va. will also host DTU journalism fellows.

“DTU fellows will be assigned to write stories that spotlight positive and powerful people and events,” according to a media advisory about the program. “The fellows will be responsible for all aspects of storytelling: writing, videography, photography, research, on-camera reporting and social media posting.”

This year, “the fellows will be placed in two, three-person teams,” the media advisory explained. “Over the course of the internship, each team’s road trip will take them to two different cities where they will spend four-week intervals working alongside experienced staffers at NNPA member newspapers.”

Alexa Imani Spencer, a journalism student at Howard University participated in the program last summer, working at The Washington Informer.

“Working for a historically Black publication helped me to understand the full worth of our institutions, as Black people,” Spencer said. “[The fellowship] helped me to understand that there has always been a voice throughout history that has advocated for us and there will always be somewhere, where we can advocate for ourselves, so long as we continue the legacies of these publications.”

Spencer continued: “The Black Press is an institution that the next generation of young, Black journalists has to preserve.”

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. the president and CEO of the NNPA, said that the third year of the DTU Journalism Fellowship represents significant progress in the NNPA’s ability to tap into the rising genius of African American millennials, exposing them to the power of the pen.

“Journalism has experienced renewed interest in the Black community,” Dr. Chavis said. “There has always been a need to not only report the news of Black America to the world at large, but also to be an advocate for the empowerment of African and African American communities across the United States and around the world.”

Dr. Chavis said that the partnership between the NNPA and Chevrolet is setting a standard for the rest of corporate America.

“This is not about philanthropy, this is more about engaging the African American community through the contributions of Chevrolet to the NNPA,” Dr. Chavis said. “It really strengthens one of the fundamental institutions in the Black community, which is the Black Press.”

Spencer said that the 2018 DTU fellows will not only experience personal growth, but that they will also gain a family by completing the program. Spencer also said that the Black Press represents another avenue, where HBCU students can help the Black community thrive.

Dr. Chavis agreed.

“There are tremendous opportunities [in the Black Press] for HBCU journalism and communications students to not only to make their mark in the profession, but to also provide an invaluable service in the Black community,” Dr. Chavis said.

The deadline to submit applications is April 30. Learn more about the NNPA’s Discover The Unexpected Journalism Fellowship at

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