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NNPA, Chevrolet Launch Historic Internship Program at Howard University

Freddie Allen | 3/28/2016, 7:40 p.m. | Updated on 3/28/2016, 7:40 p.m.
In an effort to provide student journalists with a unique experience working in the Black Press, the National Newspaper Publishers ...

In an effort to provide student journalists with a unique experience working in the Black Press, the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), teamed with Chevrolet and the School of Communications at Howard University to launch an innovative journalism fellowship program.

The program titled, “Discover The Unexpected” (DTU), will feature internships at four NNPA member publications for eight Howard University students.

The journalism fellows that are selected for the program will receive stipends and also have access to a 2016 Chevrolet Malibu to commute between their local newsrooms and their assignments.

The Michigan Chronicle, the Chicago Defender, The Washington Informer, The Atlanta Voice, were selected as participating publications for the first round of internships and legendary hip-hop pioneer MC Lyte will serve as the national spokesperson for the program.

MC Lyte said that she entered into the music business not only to have a voice, but also to inspire people to be unique and to stand up for what they believed in. The hip-hop icon, who is known for her storytelling prowess, said that she wanted the journalism students to have the opportunity to tell stories that mattered and that have the capacity to change lives.

Denise Rolark Barnes, the chairwoman of the NNPA and the publisher of the Washington Informer said that student journalists who work at Black newspapers get a global experience, because the needs are often greater and the expectations are higher.

“We don’t have beats,” said Barnes. “Today you can be covering a student who’s won a [Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation] scholarship at one of the local high schools, tomorrow you might be a the White House covering an event for First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign. The next day you might be on [Capitol Hill] covering a congressional hearing.”

Barnes continued: “The collaboration between the NNPA, General Motors and Howard University provides the perfect environment for students to discover these opportunities.”

Francina Akuazaoku, a senior television production major at Howard University from Washington, D.C. said that she was shocked, when MC Lyte walked into her classroom to announce the new venture.

Akuazaoku, who grew up in the nation’s capital said, that if she were selected, she would use the experience to help her community and future generations.

Chavis said that the practical experience that the students will gain from the DTU program will be invaluable in helping them get to the next level after they graduate.

“These experiences are going to be unique,” said Chavis. “The Black Press is the trusted voice of Black America. When the students file their stories, they do it within the context of that trusted relationship. This program is going to give the students a foundation that they will use for the rest of their careers.”

Hiram Jackson, the publisher of the Michigan Chronicle agreed.

In an e-mail to the NNPA News Wire, Jackson said that he wants the student journalism fellows to learn the importance of being accurate, fair and unbiased and that he hoped that the program would help to build a foundation of core journalism principles that will stay with them throughout their careers.