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GM’s “Discover Your Drive” Journalism Program Wraps Up at NAIAS

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GM launched its second annual Discover Your Drive diversity journalism program at NAIAS

Students who participated in GM’s second annual Discover Your Drive diversity journalism program at NAIAS

Today General Motors announced the launch of its second annual Discover Your Drive diversity journalism program, which hosted 13 college students and nine journalists at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show from January 7th to 11th. Students from diverse backgrounds were part of the program, which is designed to promote diversity in automotive journalism and news coverage.

Discover Your Drive concluded on Wednesday with an awards presentation that recognized students for their work at NAIAS, along with their social media presence during a scavenger hunt that involved driving a Chevy Bolt EV through Detroit. The students posted about their adventures on Twitter, tagging @GM_Diversity uand sing the hashtag #DiscoverYourDrive.

“We were blown away by the talent and creativity of these fearless students,” says Leslie Gordon, senior manager of GM Diversity Communications. “Many of them had not been exposed to automotive journalism, had never been to Detroit or seen snow. But they brought with them the right amount of curiosity required to cover an event as massive and complex as the North American International Auto Show and they did so with grit and class.”

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One student conducted an interview with GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra at the Detroit Auto Show, while another convinced GM North America President Alan Batey to appear in a video that nabbed him the program’s top prize: an all-expense paid trip to a national journalism conference.

Howard University students Rushawn Walters and Nia Muhammad, along with Wayne State University student Sarah Rahal, won the prize with “Jammin’ with GM.” Using carpool karaoke, the video highlights Chevrolet Cruze technologies such as Apple Car Play, Android Auto, Teen Driver, Rear Seat Reminder, and the car’s own impressive fuel economy.

“As an aspiring student journalist from Detroit, getting the opportunity to learn more about what’s in my backyard was a priceless gift,” said Rahal. “This program gave me a network of people that are proficient in the industry and the knowledge to use it in the field. Discover Your Drive allowed me to believe that automotive news is a possibility for my future.”

The students took part in a journalism workshop led by former NPR “Talk of the Nation” host Ray Suarez, and heard a panel on the state of diversity in newsrooms moderated by award-winning journalist Ed Gordon, featured fashion critic Michael Quintanilla, political journalist Patricia Guadalupe, Detroit News assistant managing editor Walter Middlebrook, and Inc. magazine’s tech reporter Salvador Rodriguez.

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The program allowed students to attend news conferences and vehicle reveals, explore the auto show floor and interview auto experts, and receive mentoring from professional journalists. The program concluded with an awards ceremony at the GM Heritage Center in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

“As a diversity and business reporter, it’s really great to see GM put its money and weight behind discovering and helping young journalists of diverse backgrounds get started with their careers,” said Inc.’s Rodriguez, who was also a mentor.

“This is the most original experience for college students that encourages them to consider automotive journalism while also promoting diversity in newsrooms,” added Quinanilla, a returning mentor whose team won last year. “By diverse, I mean not only diversity in one’s ethnicity but also in ideas and a promise from everyone involved to protect and uphold journalism’s existence and the profession’s commitment to tell accurate and honest stories.”