The Bly Project: Travel + Stories for Social Good

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It’s one thing to report on a story, it’s another to be immersed in a story and to share those first-hand experiences with others using word, sight, and sound.  Welcome to The Bly Project.  Leah Stacy’08, Kevin Kennedy’09, and Pete Wayner are Team Bly.  The three met while students at Roberts Wesleyan College a few years back, and since last year have been working on this multimedia project together.

The Bly Project gets its name from Nellie Bly, the pen name of American journalist Elizabeth Jane Cochrane Seaman (1864-1922).  Nellie feigned insanity, was admitted to an asylum, and based on that experience wrote Ten Days in a Mad-House.  That kind of experience is what inspired Leah, Kevin, and Pete to create The Bly Project and to pursue travel and immersion journalism. 

The first big project for the multimedia startup was “American Dreamers.”  For three weeks in September and October 2012, the team traveled from Rochester, NY to Austin, TX asking two questions:  “What is your version of the American dream?” and “What are you doing to pursue that dream?”  The website describes it as:  “Seven cities in three weeks. Every day, a new story. Every day, a new dream.”

One of the Rochester stories was entitled, “Life After Kodak.”  This story highlighted three former Kodak employees and their response to being laid off.  The podcast is a great example of the resilience of these individuals and their continuation of the tradition of ingenuity in the Rochester region.  Click here for the podcast.

It was faculty like Dr. Harold Hurley and Dr. Tim VandeBrake in English, and Dr. Elvera Berry and Dr. Paul Stewart in Communication who inspired their love of communication through storytelling.  Friends, faculty, and the Roberts community have been an important source of support and inspiration.

For more information on The Bly Project visit their website at www.theblyproject.com.  You can also LIKE them on Facebook by clicking here and follow them on Twitter at Twitter.com/theblyproject.  A book launch party is planned for January 19, 2013 at The Yards in Rochester.  The book is based on their American Dreamers experiences.

Leah graduated in 2008 from Roberts with a B.A. in English, and went on to complete an M.A. in Arts Journalism from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.  Leah currently lives in Rochester, NY.

Kevin graduated in 2009 from Roberts with a B.A. in Communication and an emphasis on Film and Media, in addition to graduating from the Los Angeles Film Studies Center, completing the Screenwriting track.  Kevin lives in Rochester, NY.