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University of Mississippi students win awards at multiple journalism conferences

Posted on: March 6th, 2023 by msross
A man and two girls stand with certificates in their hands at an award event

Director Larz Roberts with DM news editor Mary Boyte and DM arts & culture editor Kharley Redmon.

Congratulations to students in the S. Gale Denley Student Media Center for winning multiple awards in February at the 2023 Southeast Journalism Conference and the 2023 Intercollegiate Broadcasters Conference. 

Director Larz Roberts, along with The Daily Mississippian editors Mary Boyte and Kharley Redmon, first traveled to Thibodaux, Louisiana to attend the SEJC conference and accept awards on behalf of The Daily Mississippian, NewsWatch Ole Miss and Rebel Radio 92.1 staff. 

“I’m always excited to travel with students, especially when it’s for them collecting the awards they’ve earned,” said Roberts. “And with this being my first year as SMC director, I get a big kick out of seeing them get that recognition. In fact, this is just the beginning. With the talent collected in the SMC, I expect we’re going to bring in more.”

The Daily Mississippian ranked 4th in the best newspaper category, NewsWatch Ole Miss ranked 5th in the best TV station category and Rebel Radio ranked 5th in the best radio station category. 38 colleges and universities are members of SEJC. 

  • Erin Foley, a journalism major and design editor for the DM, ranked number 2 in the Best Newspaper Designer category. 
  • Hal Fox, an international studies major and news editor for the DM, ranked number 2 in the Best News Writer category. 
  • Emma Green, journalism major and writer for the DM, ranked number 2 in the Best Feature Writer category. 
  • Kharley Redmon, a journalism major and arts & culture editor for the DM, ranked number 4 in the Best Arts and Entertainment Writer category. 
  • Clay Hale, integrated marketing communication major and writer for the DM, ranked number 5 in the Best Arts and Entertainment Writer category. 
  • David Ramsey, integrated marketing communication major and writer for the DM, ranked number 5 in the Best Opinion/Editorial Writer category. 
  • HG Biggs, a Chinese major and photo editor for the DM, ranked number 7 in the Best Press Photographer category. 
  • Fletcher Canup, international studies major and photographer for the DM, ranked number 9 in the Best Press Photographer category. 
  • Aidan Gallardo, a journalism major and sports editor for the DM, ranked number 9 in the Best Sports Writer category. 
  • Justice Rose, a journalism major and DM opinion editor, ranked number 9 in the Best Opinion/Editorial Writer category. 
  • Violet Jira, journalism and philosophy double major and news editor for the DM, ranked number 10 in the Best News Writer category.
Two girls stand in front of a curtain with trophies in their hands

Graduate student AC Barker and senior Sarah Gail Myers accepted two awards on behalf of NewsWatch Ole Miss and Rebel Radio.

The Intercollegiate Broadcasting System hosted its IBSNYC 2023 Conference on February 24-25 in New York City. Graduate student Anna Caroline Barker and senior journalism major Sarah Gail Myers traveled with Roberts to attend the conference. While there, they were able to attend sessions, where they heard from broadcast professionals. 

NewsWatch Ole Miss was a finalist for Best Newscast and Rebel Radio 92.1 was also a finalist for Best Newscast. Becoming a finalist meant the stations were in the top 5% of their categories. The team returned to campus with two golden microphones. 

The Student Media Center in Bishop Hall is home to multiple publications including The Daily Mississippian, NewsWatch Ole Miss, Rebel Radio 92.1 and The Ole Miss yearbook

St. Jude cancer survivor and IMC major Addie Pratt takes historic Ryman stage

Posted on: February 27th, 2023 by msross

Addie Pratt takes the stage at Ryman Auditorium with Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood on February 21, 2023, in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for ALSAC/St. Jude)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Bobby Bones’ star-studded sixth annual Million Dollar Show benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® featured a special guest: St. Jude cancer survivor and integrated marketing communications major Addie Pratt. Bones invited Pratt onto the coveted stage of the historic Ryman Auditorium for a surprise performance of her debut single “The Woman That I Am.”

Joined by Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood of multi-Platinum trio Lady A and award-winning producer Nathan Chapman, Pratt belted her empowering anthem to a sold-out crowd where she received a standing ovation alongside her co-writers. The track is inspired by Pratt’s triumphant journey with cancer and an ode to the strength she has embodied ever since.

“‘The Woman that I Am’ is about how life’s trials made me who I am today,” shares Pratt. “I had leukemia in high school and that was a life-shaping experience. St. Jude saved my life and I now feel stronger and more determined than ever to graduate college and pursue my dream of making music. I hope this song will inspire anyone going through dark moments in life to have hope. I am so grateful to Nathan, Charles, Dave, Bobby and St. Jude for this opportunity.”

Last fall, Pratt attended the third annual St. Jude Presents: Curated, a live auction fundraiser at Kelley’s home. Moved by her performance of “Slow Dancin’” and the Lady A hit “American Honey,” Chapman offered to produce a song for Pratt if 15 guests would donate $2,500 each to St. Jude. The donations poured in and Chapman stayed true to his word, producing Pratt’s single.

Bobby Bones, Addie Pratt and Jake Owen are seen backstage at the Ryman Auditorium on February 21, 2023, in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for ALSAC/St. Jude) 

“I was blown away by Addie the second we met. I think she is such a bright talent and has such a great story of resilience and determination,” shared Kelley. “I’m thrilled we could be a part of her journey here in Nashville and I can’t wait to see how her career takes off.”

Bobby Bones and The Bobby Bones Show have together raised more than $22 million dollars for St. Jude since 2014. The Million Dollar Show, an event that amplifies the country music industry’s support for St. Jude, has featured stars including Parker McCollum, Deana Carter, Randy Houser, The Wreckers, and special guests Jake Owen, Dierks Bentley as well as Kelley and Haywood. During Tuesday’s event, country superstar Owen alongside Pratt, presented Bones with an award recognizing his support of St. Jude.

Join the St. Jude community of music industry supporters and become a Partner in Hope at musicgives.org.

Addie Pratt takes the stage at Ryman Auditorium with Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood on February 21, 2023, in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for ALSAC/St. Jude)

About Addie Pratt

Hailing from Corinth, Miss., Addie Pratt is a senior at the University of Mississippi, has been singing since the age of three and writing since the age of 11, with a passion for country music. In February of 2016, Pratt was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia while she was a freshman in high school. She spent six months in treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital without coming home. Her experience at St. Jude inspired her to speak and sing for the hospital, which led to her being featured on Brad Paisley’s ABC special and his song “Alive Right Now” in 2019. Pratt is extremely proud of “The Woman That I Am,” the song she wrote with Charles Kelley, Dave Haywood, and Nathan Chapman and she hopes that it inspires listeners to have hope even in their darkest moments. Pratt is a member of Tri Delta sorority and she continues to advocate for St. Jude kids.

School of Journalism and New Media Set to Host IMC Connect! 2023

Posted on: February 9th, 2023 by msross

Faculty and Students Invited for Second Annual IMC Connect! Event

OXFORD, Miss. – After a successful debut in the spring of 2022, the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media is set to host its annual two-day IMC Connect! event on March 30 and 31, 2023.

IMC Connect! is an event designed to bring together some of the nation’s top communications executives and leading researchers to campus. Its purpose is to provide various opportunities for attendees to learn from expert practitioners throughout a series of collaborative events.

This series of events include workshops, topical panel sessions, and breakout sessions. The lineup of guest speakers and panelists allows faculty and students the chance to network and contribute to discussions involving leading trends in integrated marketing communications.

At IMC Connect! attendees can contribute to discussion topics such as maximizing messages on both social and traditional media channels, 5-minute findings of hottest topics in IMC, crisis communication and corporate reputation management, and sharing success stories from IMC experts.

The 2023 guest list is created and organized to enhance knowledge and best prepare students entering the job market. This year’s event, sponsored by The Boeing Company and The Graduate Hotels, includes:

  • Marti Powers, Vice President of Communications, The Boeing Company
  • Stacey Murray, Vice President, Marketing, The Graduate Hotels
  • Natashia Gregoire, Head of Internal Communications, Worldwide Operations, Amazon
  • Elizabeth Whittington, Executive Communications Director, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  • Malcolm Berkley, President Global Network Communications and Reputation Management, UPS
  • Jeff Motley, Vice President of Communications, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Sonoma Raceway
  • Jennifer Smodish Anderson, Senior Vice President of Marketing, C-Spire
  • Hua JiangAssociate Dean of Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Public Relations, Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications
  • Glen Nowak, Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, Co-Director of Center for Health and Risk Communication, and Professor, University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Jonathan Schroeder, William A. Kern Professor, Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of Communication
  • María Elizabeth Len-Ríos, Associate Director for Faculty and Administration and Professor of Strategic Communication, University of Minnesota’s Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Click here to learn more about IMC Connect! 2022 and what to expect at this year’s event. For more information on IMC Connect!, please contact Asbrads1@olemiss.edu

 

IMC Connect! panelists take the stage inside Farley Hall.

IMC Connect! panelists take the stage inside Farley Hall during the 2022 conference.

University of Mississippi IMC professor featured on podcast about advertising industry

Posted on: February 7th, 2023 by ldrucker

Christ Sparks is featured on a cell phone with a microphone in the background.

Chris Canty Sparks, a University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media instructional associate professor of integrated marketing communications, was recently one of the featured guests on a podcast about the advertising industry.

Q. Can you tell me a little about the podcast?

A. The podcast is a part of a series of podcasts about breaking into the advertising industry called “Breaking and Entering” and is hosted by Geno Schnellenberger. Geno also works at Havas Agency in Chicago, which is an agency I like to follow. We have collaborated in the past to give some of my industrious students an opportunity to create a podcast re: the Advertising Industry.

This particular podcast is called ADJunct! Geno contacted me in December and asked if I would be a guest on the podcast. Although I am not an adjunct instructor, he wanted me to talk about my background in the industry, transitioning into higher education, and how I prepare my students to start their careers in advertising and marketing. The episode aired Jan. 12.

Links to podcast:

Link 1

Link 2

Chris Sparks is featured on a podcast.Q. What was the episode about that you were in and what did you talk about?

A. I talked about my background, how I became an instructor at the University of Mississippi, and how I prepare my students for careers in advertising and marketing.

Q. What do you hope listeners took away from the episode in which you spoke?

A. I hope listeners take away awareness of the IMC program at the University of Mississippi. I talked about my path to get to the University as an instructional associate professor of IMC. I also conveyed that I am student-centric and am passionate about helping students prepare for their careers. I ended with advice on pushing for creative ideas and how to think about a target audience.

Click one of the links above to listen to Sparks on the podcast.

University of Mississippi journalism student selected as SEC/CBS Sports Title IX Ambassador for championship game

Posted on: January 29th, 2023 by ldrucker
Loral Winn stands on a sports field.

Loral Winn stands on a sports field.

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media student was recently selected as one of five SEC/CBS Sports Title IX Ambassadors for the SEC Football Championship game, a program that exposes young women to the inner workings of careers in sports journalism, media, and broadcasting.

We asked Loral Winn a few questions about herself and the opportunity before she participated in November and December.

The Dresden, Tennessee native has studied TV and video storytelling while minoring in Spanish. During her fifth year of athletic eligibility, she will work to earn her master’s degree in journalism.

And it’s also worth noting that the School of Journalism and New Media has added a sports journalism emphasis that will be available for incoming students beginning in the fall.

Q. Can you tell us a little about your background?

A. I run cross country and track here at Ole Miss, which is one of the main reasons I even began looking at the university as a potential future college. However, I fell in love with the campus and community on my official visit and was incredibly impressed by how top-tier the journalism program was at Ole Miss. I almost immediately knew it was the place I wanted to spend the next few years of my life as a student and athlete.

Q. For those who don’t understand what this opportunity is, can you explain it? How did you find out about it?

A. The Southeastern Conference (SEC) launched a celebration of Title IX in a campaign called “50 years of Title IX– Creating Opportunities” in February 2022. One of the campaign’s initiatives is the SEC’s partnership with CBS Sports to create a program called the Title IX Ambassadors. The SEC states that this program “was created to expose young women to the inner workings of careers in sports journalism, media, and broadcasting.”

I was fortunate enough with the help of Ravin Gilbert, our director of Social Responsibility and Engagement with the university’s Athletics Department, to be selected by the SEC as one of the five women who (traveled) to Atlanta, Georgia to cover the SEC Football Championship Nov. 30 – Dec. 3.

Ravin does a wonderful job of assisting every student athlete here at Ole Miss in finding exemplary internships and opportunities as well as jobs after graduation. She is exceptional at her position and has helped me to get my foot in the door with the SEC and in finding opportunities as a hopeful future sports broadcaster. I have been able to do some really neat things with her help.

I will be shadowing CBS producers, directors, on-air talent, operation leads and executives while being able to interact with and ask questions about their jobs and positions throughout the day when covering a championship game.

Q.  What did you hope to gain or take away from participating?

A. This is an incredibly unique opportunity for me to be able to meet and converse with individuals who work in television and sports broadcasting, which can be difficult to do as  a student. It is not often that you are given the chance to sit down with CBS Sports producers, directors, and broadcasters and pick their brains. I am most excited to learn from the people I shadow and to have an in-depth, up close look at what goes into covering a major sporting event.

I will spend several days in Atlanta, which means I will follow the same schedule that CBS on-air talent does as they interview coaches and players and prepare for covering the game well. I am truly so excited for the opportunity and plan to soak up all of the knowledge that I possibly can. This is a great stepping stone for the career that I desire to pursue after graduation as a sports reporter and broadcaster.

Fagans presents ‘Seeing the Unseen’ during SouthTalks event

Posted on: January 29th, 2023 by ldrucker
School of Journalism and New Media

Farley Hall. Photo by Clay Patrick.

The spring SouthTalks series kicked off at noon Wednesday (Jan. 25) in the Tupelo Room with “Seeing the Unseen,” presented by Michael Fagans, an assistant professor at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media. Fagans is also a photojournalist, author and documentary filmmaker.

The programming focus at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture for the 2022-23 academic year is “Race in the Classroom,” and the spring SouthTalks lectures follow that theme.

Historically, classrooms have functioned as both intensely local spaces and as broader political stages on which debates about equality, identity and access have played out – nowhere to greater effect than at the University of Mississippi, which last fall marked the 60th anniversary of the campus’ integration.

Click here to read the full story.

Daily Mississippian photo editor wins second place in Sports Action category of Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar contest

Posted on: January 4th, 2023 by ldrucker
HG Biggs in action photographing a sporting event.

HG Biggs in action photographing a sporting event. Submitted art. Photo by Thomas Graning.

The Daily Mississippian photo editor took home impressive honors in the Sports Action category of the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar contest.

Jackson native Hannah Grace Biggs, 21, was named a second place winner competing against a pool of many professional photographers while attending the November event with Michael Fagans, a University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media assistant professor of journalism. Bigg’s winning photo was a shot of the women’s steeplechase taken at the SEC Track and Field Championships last spring.

“I was shocked that any of my work placed, because the majority of people who submit work for the competition are professional photojournalists,” Biggs said. “I was very honored because my work was placed alongside work by photographers for Getty Images and other news organizations.”

HG Biggs winning second place photo.

HG Biggs’ winning second place photo. Submitted art.

Biggs is a junior majoring in Chinese in the language flagship program and minoring in intelligence and security studies and chemistry. She is also an ambassador in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

She said she became involved in photography after seeing a working photographer “in the wild” at her little brothers’ T-ball games in the early 2010s.

“Somewhere on an old computer hard drive are awful photos taken through a rusty chain link fence at youth baseball fields in Jackson,” she said. “My mom was gifted the camera by her parents to take photos of myself and my brothers, but she was never happy with her photos. So, I picked up the camera around fourth grade and started shooting photos.”

When Biggs enrolled in the University of Mississippi, she thought she might get lost in the crowd, but she reached out to then DM Photo Editor Billy Scheurman who hired her as a staff photographer.

“Spring semester of my freshman year, Billy told me that he was leaving The DM for an internship with Athletics and that he wanted me to take over his position,” she said. “I was shocked, but of course, I accepted the job, and here we are.”

HG Biggs with a group of other sports photographers.

HG Biggs with a group of sports photographers. Submitted art. Photo is courtesy Randy J. and features the photographers who shot the Egg Bowl last year.

The university’s Student Media Center (SMC) is open to all majors on campus and students who have a passion for photography or video, writing or audio storytelling, social media, design or sales are all welcome to check it out.

“I like to think of the SMC as the place where many of our students find their people. Tucked away in Bishop Hall is this spot where a very diverse group of students comes together to express their creativity and to share news and information that matters to the community,” said Dr. Deb Wenger, associate dean in the School of Journalism and New Media. “I hope someone reading this will decide to check it out and be a part of this wonderful student experience.”

Biggs said she faced challenges during her sophomore year, but found comfort in a group of sports photographers who became her friends and mentors.

“I will never forget leaving the Tulane game that season at 2 a.m. with (photographers) Thomas Graning and Rogelio Solis,” she said. “Rogelio looked me straight in the eyes and told me, ‘You’re one of us now,’ and that he and the other photographers had my back, should I ever need them.

HG Biggs stands on the field.

HG Biggs stands on the field. Submitted art. Photo by Logan Kirkland.

“Before that fall, no one had ever explicitly told me I belonged somewhere before, and I truly believe I owe my life to the photographers I saw (almost) every Saturday in the media workroom under Vaught-Hemingway (or whichever stadium to which the football team traveled).”

Biggs said she has never been great at expressing emotions through words, but realized she could put all the love she has for people into her photography.

“Much of my work for The Daily Mississippian has been sports-related,” she said, “but, as a result, I have been contacted for freelance work for various departments at the university and to shoot senior portraits. I really enjoy the opportunities photography gives me to connect with people, even if I am anxious about first approaching people as a journalist. As Professor Fagans and others have told me, ‘The camera is just an excuse to talk to people.'”

The Atlanta conference was one of the most valuable experiences of her college career, Biggs said.

“I had the opportunity to listen to, speak with, and be critiqued by some of the most incredible photojournalists and photo editors currently working in the field,” she said.

They included Marcus Yam, “who is known for his work covering wildfires in California and abroad in Afghanistan,” Biggs said.

She also met Paul Kitagaki Jr., “who spent years finding, speaking with, and photographing survivors of the World War II Japanese internment camps in the U.S.”

HG Biggs in action photographing a sporting event.

HG Biggs in action photographing a sporting event. Submitted art. Photo by Logan Kirkland.

Biggs said portfolio critiques were helpful.

“While hearing critiques is often difficult, I did feel validated that I have chosen the right career path,” she said. “I have reached a point where I can take and want strong critiques, and the seminar was the ideal place to find people willing to do so. It means more to students than I can describe that there are people in the field willing to take the time out of their busy schedules to mentor us and critique our portfolios.”

Biggs said she came back to the University of Mississippi with enthusiasm.

“I returned to Oxford feeling revitalized to study because I know I have chosen a career path into which I am willing to pour all of the love and passion I can,” she said.

This story was written by LaReeca Rucker.

University of Mississippi professor’s photo featured on cover of Washington Post magazine

Posted on: December 28th, 2022 by ldrucker
An outside shot of Farley Hall

An outside shot of Farley Hall

Story of father’s unsolved lynching gets national spotlight through art

OXFORD, Miss. – As Dorothy Williams stood before a blank field holding the American flag that belonged to her father, Vanessa Charlot thought of her own connections to Williams’ story.

Vanessa Charlot

Vanessa Charlot

Charlot’s photo of Williams is receiving national notice after featuring as the cover image on the Nov. 27 edition of The Photo Issue of the Washington Post magazine.

Entitled, “The Real Americana,” the issue focuses on the variety and complexity of life in the United States.

“I was excited to be on the cover, but what really makes me excited is seeing these unresolved stories being told,” said the University of Mississippi assistant professor of journalism, whose work has been featured in The New York Times, Gucci, Vogue, Rolling Stone and Oprah Magazine, among others.

Read the full story here.

This story was written by Clara Turnage.

HELLO DALL·E​: University of Mississippi students use creative descriptions to generate realistic images and art with AI​

Posted on: December 14th, 2022 by ldrucker
Professor LaReeca Rucker entered the text "A person sitting at a computer using DALL-E 2 to create an illustration that is colorful modern art" and DALL-E 2 created this illustration.
Professor LaReeca Rucker entered the text "A person sitting at a computer using DALL-E 2 to create an illustration that is colorful modern art" and DALL-E 2 created this illustration.

HELLO DALL·E

University of Mississippi students use creative descriptions to generate realistic images and art with AI

Imagine coming up with an artistic idea, typing a few words into a search bar, and having a computer program automatically generate multiple variations of original artwork based on your conceptualization.

That is what DALL·E 2 OpenAI does. Just about anything you can envision and find the words to describe, the system can create a graphic visualization. The more specific you are, the better the results.

This semester, students in professor LaReeca Rucker’s Social Media in Society class experimented with DALL·E 2 when it was opened to the public. The name honors surrealist artist Salvador Dalí and the Pixar robot WALL·E.

“I really enjoyed playing on this website,” said student Miya Yuratich. “It is perfect for someone with a creative mind. I told my brother about it because he is an artist and is always drawing and painting. I thought it would be perfect for times when he knows what he wants to create, but can’t quite picture it.

“I also called my little sisters to show them, because they have wild imaginations, and DALL·E brought some of their visions to life. I looked up ‘cats swimming in a bowl of cereal while it is raining strawberries.’”

 

Student Miya Yuratich entered the words "Cats swimming in a bowl of cereal while it's raining strawberries" and DALL-E 2 created this illustration.
Student Miya Yuratich entered the words "Cats swimming in a bowl of cereal while it's raining strawberries" and DALL-E 2 created this illustration.

In January 2021, OpenAI introduced DALL·E followed by DALL·E 2 a year later. The AI system can create realistic images and art from a creative text description in natural language. It can combine concepts, attributes and styles and expand images beyond what’s in the original canvas, creating new compositions.

According to the DALL·E 2 website, the system has learned the relationship between images and the text used to describe them. Creators say they hope DALL·E 2 will empower people to express themselves creatively and understand how advanced AI systems see and understand our world.

 

Student McKenna Nolen typed in "Butterflies by the ocean" and DALL-E 2 created this image.
Student McKenna Nolen typed "Butterflies by the ocean" and DALL-E 2 created this image.

“After registering to use the DALL·E platform in 2021, I thought it would be something that might interest my students when it opened to the public this year,” Rucker said. “So I challenged them to use their creativity with DALL·E to type a description and see what the system creates. I think many were surprised at just how detailed the generated DALL·E illustration was.”

Student Emma Kate Davidson said it was cool to work with such a creative website.

“I looked up many different random things in the search bar, but my favorite was ‘crayon drawing of several cute colored monsters with ice cream bodies on dark blue paper,’” she said. “It was so cool to see that the website was able to accurately create such a specific picture, and I loved seeing all the different results that it came up with.

Student Emma Kate Davidson and DALL-E 2 created this illustration.
Student Emma Kate Davidson and DALL-E 2 created this illustration.

Student Jenna Karl said she challenged the system by coming up with the most ridiculous descriptions she could think of.

“There would be an image for it every time,” she said. “… I searched ‘dachshund wearing a pink dress outside.’ … I am amazed at the ability of this website to search through so much data so quickly and generate an image on the spot. I think it would be interesting to put in words describing a book and see what the site comes up with as the ‘book cover.’”

 

Student Jenna Karl entered the description "A dachshund wearing a pink dress and a crown outside" and DALL-E 2 created this image.
Student Jenna Karl entered the description "A dachshund wearing a pink dress and a crown outside" and DALL-E 2 created this image.

Student Ava Jahner said she got her friends involved with the site.

“I mostly searched things that had to do with the color pink and animals because pink is my favorite color right now,” she said. “I first searched ‘pink zebras shopping in Paris,’ and I found some super funny and cool photos.

“I then searched ‘flowers in a pink vase in Italy watercolor,’ and it was so pretty. These two were for sure my favorite. I loved this experiment, and I had so much fun playing with this website.”

 

Student Ava Jahner entered the description "Pink zebra shopping in Paris watercolor" and DALL-E 2 created this illustration.
Student Ava Jahner entered the description "Pink zebra shopping in Paris watercolor" and DALL-E 2 created this illustration.

Rucker, who has an interest in emerging technologies, teaches a class that envisions the near future of technology, media and digital ethics.

“We’ve discussed the possible effects of advanced social media networks that could change our culture, patents for futuristic contacts that could record video, how augmented and virtual reality could eventually make it difficult for us to distinguish between truth and fiction, and other issues that may arise as technology advances,” she
said.

“It’s important to remain tuned in to the new apps and websites that emerge and to think about how they can be used in multimedia storytelling.”

Student Anna Potts typed "Panda snowboarding eating ice cream" and DALL-E 2 produced this image.
Student Anna Potts typed "Panda snowboarding eating ice cream" and DALL-E 2 produced this image.

DALL·E produces original images. The Forbes article “AI And Creativity: Why OpenAI’s Latest Model Matters” says these are images that have never existed in the world nor in anyone’s imagination.

“These are not simple manipulations of existing images on the Internet—they are novel renderings, at times breathtaking in their cleverness and originality,” the article reads. “They are images that DALL·E’s human creators, in many cases, did not expect and could not have anticipated.”

The New Atlas article “Open AI’s DALL·E 2: A dream tool and existential threat to visual artists” reports that “given a high-quality prompt, DALL·E will generate dozens of options” in seconds, “each at a level of quality that would take a human photographer, painter, digital artist or illustrator hours to produce. It’s some kind of art director’s
dream; a smorgasbord of visual ideas in an instant, without having to pay creatives, models or location fees.”

It’s interesting to think of different ways DALL·E could be used. Some say a similar system could be helpful in product and graphic design, fashion and architecture. Could it be used to design logos, website templates, business cards, posters, brochures, book covers? Perhaps it could become an artist assistant or muse? The Forbes article says such a system could become a common “ideation partner and a source of inspiration.”

That means there are also fears that AI could replace creatives in their industries.

“I think that we are seeing many emerging platforms, such as DALL·E, ChatGPT (also part of OpenAI) and Copy.ai, a platform that automatically generates written content for marketers, that do things in seconds that it has taken people in our industries a lifetime to learn,” Rucker said. “Pondering the future of that can be concerning when we think about how the digital age has disrupted and transformed our industry in only a few years.

“But maybe these tools can work as companions instead of competition, and now is a good time to experiment with them to see if they have a place in our industry.”

Student Carsen Greensage typed "A snulit indoor lounge area with a pool with clear water and another pool with translucent pastel pink water next to a big window digital art" and DALL-E 2 created this image.
Student Carsen Greensage typed "A sunlit indoor lounge area with a pool with clear water and another pool with translucent pastel pink water next to a big window digital art" and DALL-E 2 created this image.

The DALL·E website reports that the company is also working to prevent the creation of harmful artistic generations. They’ve limited DALL·E 2’s ability to generate violent, hate, or adult images. They say they’ve also use advanced techniques to prevent photorealistic generations of real individuals’ faces, including those of public figures.

“I think this website is a great way to find images that you can think of, but not necessarily create,” said student Katie Sachfield. “I, for one, am a person who can come up with ideas and communicate them, but I cannot always make them myself.”

University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media professors examine the Jackson water crisis

Posted on: December 2nd, 2022 by ldrucker

The graphic features a quote about the Jackson water crisis and a water faucet.

It’s hard to imagine not having clean water to complete everyday tasks like eating, bathing, brushing your teeth and flushing toilets. To live without it would be unthinkable for many today.

But Jackson citizens endured these circumstances during the city’s water crisis this year, a system failure that left many unable to fulfill basic human needs and forced businesses to close, drawing attention and intervention from national news crews and government leaders.

A team of University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media professors and students decided it was important to investigate the water crisis. They traveled to the state capital this semester to examine the issue in-depth and give voice to Jackson residents who were suddenly trying to navigate life without safe water after the historically problematic water system was further damaged by flooding from the Pearl River.

Vanessa Charlot, assistant professor of creative multimedia; Mark Dolan, associate professor of journalism; and Michael Fagans, assistant professor of journalism led student reporting teams.

“I brought the idea to the class that we ‘throw the syllabus out the window’ and turn our attention to covering the water story, not as breaking news, but rather in-depth and comprehensive,” said Fagans. “It was a unanimous vote to cover this story.”

Dolan took a group of students from his entry-level media writing class.

“We went down to cover the crisis, in part, because it’s a huge, ongoing story about race and urban neglect,” he said. “The water crisis is a lens through which to consider so many social divisions in America. It’s startling to think about a state capital without drinkable water.”

University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media students interview Jackson residents about the water crisis.

University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media students Xenia Minton, left, and Erin Foley interview Jackson residents about the water crisis.

Dolan said UM students wanted to explore how other students at Millsaps College and at Jackson State University faced this challenge.

“Were those students inclined to stay in Mississippi after their college years?” Dolan asked. “How did the water crisis underscore racial divisions in a mostly-Black city with mostly-white suburbs?

Dolan said he hopes they gained valuable journalism experience.

“I hope the students learned the value of reporting in the field, outside of the classroom, the experience of working as real reporters, and of creating content on a deadline,” he said.

Erin Foley, 19, is a sophomore studying journalism and integrated marketing communications (IMC), who traveled to Jackson to report on the water crisis. A native of the greater Boston area, she plans to work for a newspaper as a writer or designer.

“I wanted to cover this story because it was unlike anything I’ve seen before,” she said, “so I wanted to make sure it got the proper attention in the world of journalism.

“My most memorable moment was my interview. I loved learning more about her and understanding her unique perspective on the situation. I gained more confidence in my ability to report in a new environment.”

Bella Scutti, 20, a junior IMC major, also reported on the water crisis. The Pea Ridge, Arkansas native hopes to use her public relations specialization to work at a PR agency someday.

“When Dr. Dolan presented the opportunity to travel to Jackson and write these stories, I was immediately intrigued,” she said. “As someone not from this area, I did not understand the severity of the water crisis, but also how common it can be around here.”

Scutti said she enjoyed hearing about the various students’ personal and academic lives.

“We were able to learn a lot about the students at Millsaps, while simultaneously learning about the water crisis,” she said. “It was encouraging to hear how the school community came together and supported each other throughout the crisis and school closures. Professors were opening up their homes and provided meals to those in need.”

Fagans said the story is important because of the complexity, the intersection of issues that affect all of Mississippi, and it was an opportunity to report in-person.

“I am hoping that they (students) get a better sense of what it is like to report on an issue like this and get to know the community (if that is possible),” he said. “I am hoping that they begin learning how news events do not happen in a vacuum, rather they are a result of politics, the environment, government and how people interact (or don’t) in our state.

“I have also been fortunate to see how students respond and learn from in-person reporting and would like to make sure that we continue to provide opportunities like this in the future.”