By Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.
The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) commends the dedication, vigilance and vitality of our eight “Discover the Unexpected” NNPA Journalism Fellows: Brandi Montgomery, Brelaun Douglas, Briahnna Brown, McKenzie Marshall, Victoria Jones, Rushawn Walters, Tatyana Hopkins and Sidnee King.
Over this summer, the NNPA Fellows were in the streets in Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit, Atlanta, Washington, DC, Houston, Cleveland and Philadelphia reporting on the news that will impact the quality of life of African Americans.
Thanks to the academic and professional guidance of the Howard University School of Communications, the NNPA benefited strategically from having this group of talented millennials as the first group of undergraduate student fellows in 2016. This unique fellowship program was made possible by the generous support of Chevrolet.
I witnessed firsthand the diligence of some of the NNPA Fellows at the NNPA National Convention in Houston in June and at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last week. During both events, I observed the fellows’ thirst and passion for gathering the news and for reporting their insights and perspectives to Black America.
Today we are challenged by numerous issues on voting rights, politics, education, healthcare, employment, housing, economic development and criminal justice re form. Yet, the aspirations of Black America to push for more progress, justice and equality have not been diminished or reduced in fact.
In Cleveland at the Republican National Convention, as well as at the DNC in Philadelphia, the demands of Black America for fairness, respect, justice, and equal opportunity were well articulated and reported in the Black Press across America. It was inspiring to see young activist journalists, videographers, podcasters, bloggers, and photographers do their work with enthusiasm and zeal.
“This new partnership represents the next phase in the relationship between Chevrolet and the NNPA, allowing our Chevrolet brand to help shape and support the next generation of Black journalists and publishers,” said Michelle Alexander, General Motor’s Diversity Marketing Manager. “These young, aspiring journalists had the opportunity to get hands-on experience and guidance from the leading publishers in our communities.”
Briahnna Brown affirmed, “I am grateful to both Chevrolet and the NNPA for my opportunity with DTU, which has enabled me to take lessons from the experience and professionalism of the top minority publishers in the country to tell stories that are often overlooked in the communities I represent.”
Recently in Washington, DC, NNPA Fellow Victoria Jones reported on the importance of African America iconic leaders to share their success stories and journeys with young emerging activists and leaders in our communities throughout the country. Jones’s news feature title was “Icon Talks’ Event Celebrates African American Success.”
Media mogul Cathy Hughes, civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson and actor Omari Hardwick were honored and saluted at the Icon Talks’ event at the Mead Center for American Theater. Jones explained, “The performances and conversations….. explored paths to success and provided a platform to engage, entertain, and inspire.”
We look forward to the next phase of the Discover the Unexpected (DTU) Fellowship Program with the NNPA. As we face the future, we are more determined and confident that we will continue to advance the cause of freedom, justice and equality. The Black Press of America will remain at the vanguard of the global movement to change the nation and world into a better place for all.