A fabulous road trip in a hot red Chevrolet Blazer is creating an unforgettable summer for three interns at the Chicago Crusader
Before I was selected for the Chevy DTU (Discover the Unexpected) program I was feeling defeated. I had applied for several positions and was turned down. There were two opportunities I was offered but I was unable to accept them. It seemed like my hard work from the past year was not going to pay off.
I started to question if Media was really my calling. Then, somehow, I received an email saying that I was selected as one of six applicants to be a Chevrolet Discover the Unexpected Fellow. I felt like everything was right with the world and that I should continue on the path I was following. The feeling of reaping the benefits of what you’ve sacrificed so much for is worth all of the things you give up along the way, such as a social life, sleep, and your sanity.
Since starting with the Chevrolet Discover the Unexpected program, I have done many things I had not had the luxury of doing before. Driving the new Chevy Blazer that is part of the intern benefit, I have traveled and seen so much of the country I might never have seen. I have acted in commercials for Chevrolet and eaten crab cakes with celebrities DJ Envy and Fonzworth Bentley. It is just unbelievable how a year of hard work can take you places that you never dreamed of going.
When we arrived in Atlanta I was put on the side of the camera that I am not used to. I have never been an actor or been filmed for that matter, so from the jump it was a whole new experience. Imagine this, interns had stylists, make-up artists, et cetera. It was really superstar treatment.
Since leaving Atlanta my fellow interns and I have driven close to 2,000 miles and have visited many historical places such as the Magnolia House, one of the last few standing locations from Victor Green’s “The Negro Motorist Green Book.” We did some filming there and created a feature story about the “Green Book,” consisting of information about what it contained, people who were experts on it, and people who had experienced it themselves.
In Washington, DC we worked for the Washington Informer covering stories like the premiere of the Bobby DeBarge movie and the premiere of Snowfall season 3, and we continued doing research on “Green Book” locations. We visited the Thurgood Marshall Center trust which is also a “Green Book” location and it also serves as the headquarters for the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the co-sponsor with Chevy, of the internship.
The drive from DC to Chicago was one of the most scenic routes I have ever driven, I had never seen mountains that close up before. Honestly, I did not do much driving in the mountainous areas because I would have been driving too slowly, fearing for my life and that of the other passengers.
From the beginning of the trip to now, at the midway point, my two teammates and I have grown close, we are like a small family. I was sure that we were either going to love or hate each other, but I feel as though we’re closer to love than hate.
Chicago is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen, and it is extremely rich in history. I really feel as though it is a hub for Black excellence and its energy can empower the Black community. If I were to move here, I would thrive as a creative person because there would be a network of people like myself, to assist me. I can’t believe that Chicago was never one of the places on my bucket list to visit.
Though it is early in the Chicago Crusader portion of the internship I can tell that working for the Crusader is going to be very insightful and I feel as though my skills will be a definite asset rather than a challenge for the publication. I can breathe new life into their social media and other platforms through video. I am very excited to see what kind of stories I can contribute that promote the positive energy of the Black community in Chicago and around the nation.
By Sharon Washington
To be a budding media professional is a humbling experience. I’d like to reflect on the evening of May 3, 2019. I found myself in a pensive state of worry. All I could think about was the fact that I was about to cross a commencement stage with no idea where the other end of my undergraduate career would lead me. I did not want the lead in another sad life story of spending thousands of dollars on an education that I wouldn’t use.
Here I am, a broadcast journalism graduate with no true passion for traditional newsroom reporting. I love the art of storytelling through television and film production, but at the time I had no footing in that direction.
For most, graduating college is a moment of excitement and celebration. Especially when those graduates and family-members can happily answer the dreadful “so… what’s next?” question. If you are that aunt, uncle, cousin or friend and you don’t know what is next for your loved one, DON’T ASK. Trust me, they’re doing their best to figure it out themselves.
All of this is to say that not having a job waiting for me right out of college left me dumbfounded. As a first-generation college student, I carried an extra weight of responsibility. It was time to use all that was invested in me and apply it to the real world. It was time to prove that all of this work and faith was worth it. It was time.
Days after graduation I was glued to the computer applying for job after job.
Looking for a job in a competitive field is a job in itself. Amidst my search, a relative with whom I rarely speak, randomly sent me a message about a journalism fellowship. I reluctantly looked into it as I tried to inch away from the path of “journalism” itself. The further I researched the opportunity the more enticing it became.
For eight weeks six students from HBCUs would have the chance to drive an all-new Chevy Blazer while working multiple newspaper internships. And that’s not all, each student would also receive a $15,000 scholarship. I applied to the fellowship and worked my hardest to ensure that I paid careful attention to detail. The wait was a bit daunting as the announcement of the selected Fellows was pushed back a week and a half. Nevertheless, I kept my faith and I trusted that my time at FAMU had prepared me for an opportunity such as this.
When I found out that I was awarded the fellowship, I was so happy to know that the selection committee saw something in me as a storyteller and creator. They saw enough in me to invest in me. That gave me a burst of confidence because it was proof that I am a skilled and worthy storyteller.
Since the beginning of the journey I wanted the experience itself to be my “thank you” to the program coordinators. I treat each assignment, opportunity and encounter as a “thank you.” From delving into the depths of “The Green Book” and its comparison to our travel experience, to attending city press briefings I’ve learned that the way that we say “thank you” is through what we produce.
I’ve learned so much about Washington D.C. during the first leg of the internship, and I honestly wish I had more time to learn and study the historic city. D.C is the home of federal legislation and profound political pro-test. Now that I am here in Chicago on the second leg, I am excited about what I’ll learn. I’m excited to connect with the community and to say, “thank you.” Thank you for seeing my intelligence, worth and excellence. I’m excited to listen to the voice of the Black community. I hope that their stories inspire me, and readers, to lead thoughtful lives that are actively empathic. There is more to Chicago’s Black community than gun violence. I hope to help impact the magnification of their stories.
By Elae Hill
Figuring out your dreams before college life ends is the biggest stress for any undergraduate. I chose multimedia journalism as a career path because I feel that I would rather work with English for the rest of my life than math or any other subject.
My dreams are to work within the entertainment industry as a host, or within the music industry, helping behind a content creating team with public relations roll outs for artists. With my first two years completed at North Carolina A&T I have had on-campus experiences pertaining to writing news, interviewing and developing journalism skills. But I’ve never had the opportunity like the one Chevy Discover The Unexpected has given me this summer, to not only travel the country and develop genuine connections, but to also learn about our Black communities and the triumphs and downfalls that occur within them, that are rarely shared on a broader scale in the mainstream media.
I’ve previously been unsuccessful in obtaining an internship. This is my first. The Chevy DTU internship is the opportunity I needed to propel my enthusiasm in this field and to figure out exactly what I want to do in life.
Being selected for this fellowship along with five other teammates was very exciting for me. From the start, we were flown out of the states we currently reside in and treated like family once we arrived in Atlanta. Boot camp was one of my funniest moments because the experience of being on camera and acting is a job I can see myself doing in the future. We were placed with a great production crew, great Chevy DTU employees and our ambassadors, who told us this would be a trio of a lifetime.
After boot camp, the teams split up; Team Igneous stayed in Atlanta for a month and my Fellows and I headed over to Washington, DC. Before that we stopped in Greensboro, NC where we covered the “Green Book” info at the Magnolia House, which was a story we carried over to Washington, DC as well.
The importance of the story merited a carry-over because not many people know about the importance of the “Green Book” and why it’s necessary that we value and never forget the times when it wasn’t possible for African American people to travel comfortably throughout different states. Our road trips have been a lot of fun, traveling through different cities and just getting the chance to explore is an opportunity a lot of students wish they could have as interns.
Our time at the Washington Informer was my first eye opener to the newspaper industry pertaining to the Black community. DC is filled with a lot of historic landmarks, so the Fellows and I had plenty of sightseeing to conduct.
The Washington Informer’s main focus was to increase our broadcast skills. There the work day consisted of working in front of the camera, doing real world interviews, as well as developing features and TV packages to which we could attach our names. The experience of covering movie premieres, and museums like the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of African American History and Culture is an experience none of us will forget.
Ending our time in Washington, DC on a good note and wrapping up the “Green Book” story, we left and headed to Chicago to work with the Chicago Crusader. The drive to Chicago from DC was nearly 13 hours so we made an overnight pit stop in Cleveland, Ohio, a state I’ve never been to before. We then made our way to the third largest city in America, Chicago, Illinois.
Our first day going out into the city was nothing short of delightful. Seeing the major restaurants and hotels that the city is known for, shopping areas, the Bean, the crowds of people on the move, the lake view and of course the feature that makes the city of Chicago, the skyscrapers. We also got to see historic landmarks located around the Chicago Crusader, like former President Obama’s private home, Emmit Till’s house, and other notable monuments.
As we spend a month in Chicago, we want to experience and learn as much as we can about the history of the city. I wish, and I know my Fellows wish to thrive and progress in this journalism field, and to acquire knowledge for hard news in the Black community and why it’s important that those stories are shared as well.