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Student Journalists Get Jobs, Black Newspapers Get Reporters
By Howard University News Service
Published March 30, 2016

NNPA GMevent
(From left to right): Chairwoman of the NNPA Denise Rolark Barnes, legendary lyricist and hip hop pioneer MC Lyte, President and CEO of the NNPA Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., Dean of the School of Communications at Howard University Gracie Lawson-Borders and Chevrolet’s Diversity Marketing Manager Michelle Matthews-Alexander break for a photo-op during the launch of the NNPA’s “Discover the Unexpected” Fellowship Program Sponsored by Chevrolet. (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)

WASHINGTON – The nation’s black newspapers will get a new infusion of talent from Howard University and young journalists will get hands-on training from seasoned professionals this summer under a program by the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and Chevrolet.

The program, entitled “Discover the Unexpected,” was announced last week and will provide eight students from Howard’s journalism program to work at the Atlanta Voice, the Chicago Defender, the Washington Informer and the Michigan Chronicle in Detroit. The students will be paid for the summer and also receive a scholarship.

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In addition to the students, the newspapers will also receive temporary use of a new Chevrolet Malibu so the young journalists can get to their assignments.

Hip Hop pioneer MC Lyte is helping Chevrolet and NNPA get the word out.

NNPA officials said the program could be expanded to other historically black colleges and universities if it proves successful in its first year.

Gracie Lawson-Borders, dean of the Howard University School of Communications, welcomed the opportunity for her students.

“This will give them an experience of going out into communities and covering stories and gathering content through print, social media and through photos and video,” Lawson-Borders said. “It’s a chance for them to grow and hone their craft, but also hear their stories and give these stories context.”

She also applauded Chevrolet for its support.

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“This is really a commitment of supporting the community on behalf of General Motors and Chevrolet,” she said.

Paul Edwards, U.S. vice president, for Chevrolet Marketing, said the students from the program “will highlight and celebrate positive stories of men and women making a tremendous impact in their communities.”

“Chevrolet is fully committed to this important initiative,” Edwards said. “We believe our . . . fellows are leaders in the next generation of African American journalists and storytellers, and we are proud to support them in their mission to create meaningful narratives that foster a collective sense of pride.”

Benjamin Chavis, NNPA’s president and CEO, said his organization is looking forward to the infusion of young talent and new ideas.

“These students get a lot of their news from social media 24 hours a day,” Chavis said. “Videos are posted as events are happening and they go viral, with most of them focusing on the violent aspects of what’s happening in their neighborhoods and to their generation.

“Our fellows are going to discover and report those unexpected stories, the ones that say their generation is making a difference, the ones that say we’re greater than what you see on the nightly news or read in the papers.”

The students will be selected by a panel of NNPA publishers and editors and Howard University faculty.

MC Lyte has signed on as the program’s national spokeswoman.

“Young people have always been on the forefront of reporting what’s happening in the African American community,” MC Lyte said during the announcement.

“I’m excited to be involved with emerging young writers who have the power to shape our voices the same way hip hop emcees broke ground telling our stories.”

-Taj Brayboy, Howard University News Service, contributed to this story

Categories: National | News
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