Cross-Country Journalism Project Visits Connecticut

A media startup team driving from Rochester, NY to Austin, TX stopped in Southbury on Saturday to ask Apple Festival-goers for their version of the American dream.


On Friday, September 14, three 20-somethings left their hometown of Rochester, N.Y. to begin a three-week road trip to Austin, T.X.

They're known as ‘The Bly Project,’ a media startup that incubated for the past nine months under mentorship from professors at Syracuse University’s iSchool/Syracuse Tech Garden and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

On Saturday, the group (Leah Stacy, Kevin Kennedy and Pete Wayner) landed in Southbury, their first stop on the trip, to visit Syracuse University friend and Southbury native Stephen Barton. 

The quartet bashed around the Apple Festival in plaid shirts and interviewed several Southbury residents about their personal version of the American dream before climbing back into their blue Jeep Patriot — 'Pecos Bill' — and driving to the next destination: Brooklyn.

From September 14 to October 3, Team Bly will travel from Rochester, N.Y. to Austin, Texas — with stops in Connecticut, Brooklyn, Washington, D.C., Roanoke, VA and Charleston, SC — to produce a website and coffee table book called “American Dreamers,” chronicling personal pursuits of the American dream for individuals and communities.

Team Bly uses video, audio, photo, long form writing, blogging, graphics and social media to report. With a theme-focused travel and immersion model, they hope to create public discussions and personal reflections that spark social good.

The trip is currently on Kickstarter, with 17 days remaining to raise 50 percent of a $3,750 goal. Bly's Facebook and Twitter communities are also growing, attracting attention from media innovators and educators.

So, why Bly?

Through immersion and travel journalism, storytellers have created and promoted culture, societal change and community for decades. ‘The Bly Project’ was inspired by the first immersion journalist, Elizabeth Cochrane, aka Nellie Bly, who feigned insanity for 10 days in a madhouse and exposed the mistreatment of patients, resulting in almost $1 million in reforms for New York City asylums. (She also wrote a mighty fine book about traveling around the world in 72 days, to beat Jules Verne’s record.)

You can check out a sneak peek of the Southbury footage here.

For more, visit www.TheBlyProject.com

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