About this project
The Bly Project: travel + stories for social good
We are three 20-something journalists striving to sustain and innovate travel journalism and immersion journalism. Through these forms, journalists have created and promoted culture, societal change and community for decades. With our theme-focused travel and immersion projects, we hope to create public discussions and personal reflections that spark social good.
We use video, audio, photo, long form writing, blogging, graphics and social media to report.
Our current immersion: American Dreamers
Three weeks, two questions, one dream.
From September 14 - October 3, we’re driving from Rochester, NY to Austin, TX. Along the way, we’re asking people two questions:
“What is your version of the American dream?”
“What are you doing to pursue that dream?”
Seven cities in three weeks. Every day, a new story. Every day, a new dream.
Leah Stacy: Web Content Editor
You remember the red-haired girl from Peanuts? That would be Leah, if the red-haired girl made Charlie Brown feel good about himself by writing an in-depth, sincere article about his story and struggles. She’s been a journalist for five years, specializing in the arts, social media, and macaroni and cheese (really). Everything that goes up on our site goes through Leah. Her skill and professionalism are only surpassed by her love for stories and the people in them. She and Pete have been dating for four years (in case you wanted to get personal for a second).
Pete Wayner: Multimedia Editor
Pete grew up between a forest and a cornfield. He learned how to change a spark plug, clean a rifle, and whistle “A Night in Tunisia” before he learned how to write a text message. (Turns out those survival skills came in handy when he covered the military beat during journalism school.) He’s become a bit more savvy since then, particularly when it comes to video. He edits for hours on end, and nothing makes him happier (except Leah and Kevin). He will be responsible for many of the videos and photos along the trip.
Kevin Kennedy: Arts & Culture Editor
Kevin quit his job to join The Bly Project. Big Dan Kennedy and his wife, Mary, are his parents. Big Dan is renowned for having the most fantastic belt buckles in Bergen, NY, where Kevin and Leah both grew up. Mary has a reputation as a ruthless Scrabble shark. Put these two legends together, and there’s Kevin. He’s part blogger, part videographer, and part snapping turtle, and has been Pete and Leah’s mutual best friend for three years. Kevin constantly sets his azure eyes on trends and pop culture. He owns Bly’s Jeep Patriot, which he named Pecos Bill.
Since January, we’ve raised over $2,500 for this project through a small grant, competition prize and freelance assignments. These funds will cover our travel and living costs.
But to make the final product happen, we need your help.
Your donations will subsidize the cost of equipment and software needed to produce the American Dreamers stories (and make future Bly stories possible). At the end of the immersion, we'll produce a website chock full of stories, videos, audio and photos: a documentary, if you will.
Our funding goal is so specific because we've taken the time to figure out our exact budget. Kevin suggested buying a hamster for company, and was promptly removed from the budget team.
Please feel free to shoot us an email if you would like to see our complete budget.
Other ways you can help
We embark on Friday, September 14. From there, we have seven anchor points:
- Rochester, New York
- Southbury, Connecticut
- Brooklyn, New York
- Washington, D.C.
- Roanoke, Virginia
- Charleston, South Carolina
- Austin, Texas
Those packages will be edited and released when we get back to Rochester, but along the way we’re producing and posting smaller stories everywhere we go.
While many of the packages are already planned, we want to hear from you about people living out their version of the American dream. (If you’re on our route, we’d love to meet you!)
Thank you for your help. The best part of this project is meeting the people, like you. You’re helping us achieve our dream - to tell yours.
Connect with us: Facebook.com/TheBlyProject | Twitter: @theblyproject, #Bly
That's the question of the day... week... month!
In 1887, a 23-year-old newspaper reporter pretended to be insane so she could experience life in a 19th century women's asylum. The reporter's name was Elizabeth Jane Cochrane, and she used the pen name "Nellie Bly."
Bly's story, "Ten Days in a Mad-House," earned $1 million in reforms for New York City's mentally impaired. Her firsthand account - a snapshot of the sights, sounds and smells of mistreatment - captured the attention of readers. She was the first true immersion journalist.
Bly went on to write an in-depth piece of travel writing as well, "Around the World in 72 Days," her personal attempt to prove Jules Verne's fictional "Around the World in 80 Days" could be done in less than 80 days.
She went on to become a successful entrepreneur later in life.
Nellie Bly is part of the first generation of journalists: one that believed they could change the world and then, did it. And Team Bly? Well, we believe the same is true nearly 150 years later.
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