Chevrolet and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) gave many Historically Black College and University (HBCU) students an exciting opportunity over the summer.
Discover the Unexpected (DTU) allowed students to learn more about their communities, careers and themselves. Due to the pandemic, this year’s program is a 10-week virtual journalism journey focusing on stories from African American communities.
Miles Johnson is one such DTU Fellow who came to The Atlanta Voice this year. This is The Atlanta Voice’s fourth year participating in the program.
Johnson, a Philadelphia native who is majoring in communications with a minor in sports journalism at Morehouse College, discussed the program, his college journey and his plans for the future within college and as an intern.
“The DTU program challenges the fellows and I to be content creators. We put our content creation skills to use on social media and specifically Tik-Tok. Daily I would make Tik Toks for The Atlanta Voice.”
During this aspect of his training, Tik Tok was the biggest focal point of the Fellowship. It was something that Johnson admits is a great app that allows creators to let their content reach more people.
“In fact, oftentimes you can have more views and likes than you have followers because of Tik Tok’s algorithm,” Johnson said. “In terms of newsrooms, Tik Tok allows newsrooms to engage with a broader audience and Tik Tok has a community for any topic you can think of. Whether it’s sports, cars, politics, religion you name it. Tik Tok is a space for all creators and as more newsrooms are shifting to being digital, Tik Tok is a great platform to get the ball rolling.”
During his planned time away from work and classes, Johnson runs his own podcast called Real Talk with MJ that is devoted to talking all about sports. Johnson is also involved as a Morehouse Resident Assistant (RA).
“Being an RA takes a lot of responsibility,” Johnson said of the position. “I’m still new to the role but I’ve learned quickly that RA’s are held to a much higher standard than regular students. What I can learn from being an RA is the self-awareness that I not only represent myself but I represent others. As an RA I’m a direct representation of Morehouse and I know that working for The Atlanta Voice, I represent them as well.”
Over the summer, Johnson was able to visit Detroit during his fellowship and was able to film a Chevrolet commercial. It was one of his favorite parts.
“I got the whole production day experience with a makeup crew, stylist, directors, and camera people that made the whole project come to life,” Johnson recalled. “It was an experience I’ll never forget and it affirmed that being on camera is something that I was born to do.”
Even with the highs of the fellowship, the learning came with it. Organization was one part of the fellowship that Johnson was taught.
“I had to be organized throughout the duration of the internship to respond to emails in an orderly fashion, schedule and attend group meetings, and be on top of my work not only with The Atlanta Voice but also my work with Chevrolet,” Johnson said.
His work has been published in the Maroon Tiger, the Morehouse student newspaper, where he wrote several sports and political stories. Johnson’s first story for The Atlanta Voice on how “UGA Athletes will be Well Represented at This Year’s Olympics” will be one he always remembers.
“I was able to interview the athletic director at the University of Georgia, to get his insight on what it means for UGA to have so many athletes participating in this year’s Olympics,” Johnson said. “It felt great seeing my story in print and I actually took home a copy to keep for myself so I’ll always remember the first article I wrote that wound up in print.”