DTU JOURNAL ENTRY 1: READY TO “DISCOVER THE UNEXPECTED” WITH THE BLACK PRESS
Noni Marshall (NNPA/DTU Journalism Fellow)
When I headed to Detroit for the immersion event that kicked off the “Discover The Unexpected” (DTU) Journalism Fellowship program, I knew that I had to be ready for anything—and I was.
Getting off the plane at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., the president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and a familiar face, greeted me and my partner, Alexa; Dr. Chavis’ presence gave me a sense of peace in the, otherwise, chaotic Detroit airport. I was excited to meet everyone and get started, because I had been craving some sort of details about the immersion trip. I wanted an itinerary, complete with dates, times and addresses of everywhere we would be going for the next two days. I learned quickly what it meant to “discover the unexpected” and I realized that an itinerary would have ruined the weekend.
After we gathered near the baggage claim, the fellows and a few of the representatives from NNPA member newspapers, piled into one of those long, black charter buses with a little bit of residual sleep in our eyes and exhaustion in our walks. Once on the bus, we gave brief introductions while we rode to the hotel to check-in.
“Hello everyone, my name is Noni Marshall and I am a rising junior broadcast journalism major, psychology minor attending Howard University, from Nashville, Tenn.,” I said. My “Howard intro” rolled right off of my tongue.
We laughed and joked around, but as we continued to ride, we found that our conversations transitioned into discussions about the current state of journalism. We talked about everything from the failed Pepsi campaign, that starred Kendall Jenner, to what it’s like being young, Black, activists, and journalists. That’s when I knew that there was something special about our group. How many places can you find such passion and respect for storytelling among young, Black people?
After we all checked in to the hotel, we loaded back onto the van and headed to what would be our welcome reception. We arrived at the front of a refurbished firehouse, only to be met by a crew of camera people, Chevy representatives, and DTU mentors, waiting to greet us.
From the moment I stepped off of the bus, I knew something unique was about to happen. The energy from our initial conversations on the bus was matched, if not exceeded by all of the people who worked so hard to make this program a success. I was happy to see Constance, “Adu,” Steve, and Brian, who I had met during my interview process, along with meeting Jamilah Lemieux, a powerhouse in the journalism industry. We also met Michelle, Sarah and few other wonderful people from Chevy, who are a part of the DTU team as well.
Over the next few days our energy only increased.
The welcome reception, complete with delicious food and presentations kicked off Day 1 of the immersion trip. Following the reception, we all got a chance to experience the beautiful, orange burst-colored Chevy Equinox for ourselves, which was exciting to say the least. We all pulled out our Snapchat cameras taking selfies and videos of ourselves riding in the backseat of our brand-new cars. From there, we explored the city in a few short hours conducting interviews at every stop and eating some donuts from Dilla’s Delights along the way.
Day 2 was spent in the General Motors (GM) headquarters learning about different aspects of the global automaker. My favorite part of Day 2 was receiving words of encouragement and a little bit of tough love from our mentors. I love that they made it known that the expectations are set high and I have no doubt that our team of fellows will exceed those expectations.
Here’s to the first step of “Discovering the Unexpected,” and many more lessons and experiences to go.
Noni Marshall is a 2017 NNPA “Discover The Unexpected” Journalism Fellow and a student at Howard University. This summer, Noni is writing for The Washington Informer, a member newspaper of the NNPA. Follow Alexa on Twitter @noni_nnpadtu.
Fellow, The Washington Informer
Noni Marshall is a sophomore attending Howard University’s School of Communications. In her hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, Marshall has interned at local news stations and continues to hone her skills and gain new journalism experience. She also mentors young girls at a local middle school as part of an empowerment program. She hopes to use her communication skills and tech savvy to help inform and empower our community.