At a March 23 news conference at Howard University, the National Newspaper Publisher Association (NNPA) partnered with Chevrolet and Howard University’s School of Communications to announce the “Discover the Unexpected” (DTU) fellowship program. Designed to support the next generation of African American journalists, eight Howard communications students will be selected for an innovative journalism program that will pair them in teams of two with a professional advisor from four NNPA member newspapers: Washington Informer, Atlanta Voice, Michigan Chronicle and Chicago Defender. The students will be challenged to develop news stories that impact their communities, thereby discovering the unexpected.

Michelle Matthews-Alexander, diversity marketing manager of Chevrolet, said the fellows will be paid a stipend and earn tuition scholarships. In addition, Chevrolet will present the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Malibu to the Fellows news team to use during a portion of their reporting assignment. The application deadline for Howard students to apply was April 10, 2016, with Fellows to be selected by a panel of NNPA publishers, editors and Howard faculty.

Representing NNPA at the press conference were President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. and Chair Denise Rolark-Barnes. In his remarks, Chavis, who noted the NNPA’s longstanding partnership with Chevrolet, said, “The Black Press is the trusted voice of Black America. When the students file their stories, they will 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.”

Barnes, whose paper will be a mentoring institution stated, “Student journalists who work at Black newspapers get a global experience, because the needs are often greater and the expectations are higher.”

This program is illustrative of the kinds of partnerships that NNPA seeks to develop and expand as an ongoing initiative. For more information about the program, go to