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Journalism trends for 2019 revealed during #ONA18 conference

My week was filled with networking and barbeque during the Online News Association’s annual conference in Austin, Texas. Thousands of digital journalists from around the world gathered to find out about new tools, techniques, and technologies of our ever-changing industry.

Out of all of the discussions, from reporting during the Midterm Elections to female journalists facing harassment on the Internet and in the newsroom, the most dynamic was the “Tech Trends for Journalists” session on the last morning of the conference.

The address, led by professor of the NYC Stern School of Business and founder of the Future Today Institute foresight and strategy firm, Amy Webb, led the over 2,000 register conference-goers through a journey of how some of their favorite reporting tools, like wearable tech and smartphones (that’s right smartphones), will be replaced by over 108 new trends that will start as early as 2019. Webb, who is also known as a quantitative futurist, introduced a few examples from her “2019 Trend Report for Journalists, Media & Technology” report that will help newsrooms fight against misinformation and offer alternatives for funding quality news in the near future.

Some of the trends mentioned:

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  • Natural Language Generation: Machines translating content into different languages and generate content for different mediums and in different voices or styles.

  • Immutable Records: Information records using blockchain technology that can NEVER be deleted or modified. A company to watch is Tron

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  • Token & Tekenominics: This new blockchain business model will revolutionize how media companies approach monetization and distribution. Civil is one of the companies to watch as their recent platform is the home of the podcast Zig Zag with hosts Manoush Zomorodi and Jen Poyant.

  • Faceprints: Advance computing systems that can use unique features of our face– bone structure, skin color, even capillaries– to identify us. AlterEgo, developed by the MIT Media Lab, is a closed-loop, non-invasive wearable system that allows people to converse without opening their mouth– simply by vocalizing internally.


Whew, my mind is blown just writing this so I know your brain is shook reading this! If you think you can handle more information (and I suggest you to read slowly) click HERE to read the full report.

DigiAlli EMPJ

Farmers and First Responders are Thankful for Drones and the Unmanned Aerial Systems Program at Hinds Community College

In comparison, the great state of Mississippi is more all rural than metropolitan and having access to certain things are difficult to come by. Now, with the help of technology, this common problem has a solution.

The Unmanned Aerial Systems Program at Hinds Community College in Raymond, Miss, prepares students for careers as operators and/or coordinators of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) aka “drones.” The program offers a 2-year  Associates of
Applied Science degree, plus industry and government certifications. Hinds
students learn to build and operate drones, understand UAS hardware/software
systems, as well as learn commercial applications such as aerial photography,
agriculture, surveying, mapping in addition to ecological monitoring and inspecting.hinds logo

Hinds UAS Instructor, Dennis Lott, told Jackson, Miss news station, WAPT-TV, “80% of the commercial market in the United States is going to be agriculture.”

Lott also mentioned that the future of drones could help farmers grow crops, deliver emergency supplies and even drop off packages at your front doorstep, now being tested by retail website Amazon.

Hinds is one of the first institutions of higher learning in the U.S. to teach students not only to maintain drones but to fly them for the commercial application of the future. In 2016, Hinds joined forces with Mississippi State University to extend their students farm droneeducational opportunities with the 2+2 agreement in their Precision Agriculture department. In addition to the 60 hours of coursework at Hinds, students can transfer to MSU for a bachelor’s in Agricultural Engineering Technology and Business department.

In addition to the relationship with MSU, Hinds CC has been collaborating with William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, since 2014, to explore the possibilities of sending medical response faster with the help of drones. The Healthcare Integrated Rescue Operations or HiRO uses a modified DSI 1000+ drone to carry a 20-pound telemedical kit to send ahead while first responders are in route to a remote area like a farm or inside of a national park. Each kit has a Google Glass video glasses which connects bystanders with a doctor to walk them on how to care for a person in need of medical attention before an ambulance arrives.   To see a simulation of how the HiRO drone will work and save people’s lives, visit their YouTube channel HERE.

DigiAlli EMPJ Uncategorized

Dri-Fit keeping you dry? The LilyPad Temperature Sensor can answer that

In 2014, the last Father’s Day gift I gave my Dad was a lavender polo shirt made with  Dri-Fit technology and some khaki cargo shorts for him to wear on the golf course. He loved that shirt so much that he decided to wear it while working and taking my Mom on “hot” dates. He said he loved wearing the shirt so much because it kept him cool and prevented him from sweating so much.

Now, as I reminisce those special times I spent with him, I wonder did the shirt actually keep him dry or was that because the advertising said it would? Dri-Fit fabric is a type of material that is made of a polyester and microfiber fabric. This fabric helps evaporate sweat away from the fabric surface and from your body. As developers have tons of research to support their theory, I want to put it to my own test.

Using the LilyPad Temperature Sensor found on, it will determine if the body of a person wearing Dri-Fit clothing increases or stays the same during use.

LilyPadThe sensor detects temperature changes near its surroundings.  Sewing the LilyPad on the Dri-Fit garment of a test subject,  the sensor will accumulate the data and transfer to the Arduino circuit board and translate the data to code.

Formatting the code would go to the Adafruit Feather nRF52 Bluefruit app. Developed by the woman-owned Adafruit Engineering plant, The Feather is an all-in-one Bluetooth Low Energy board with a native-Bluetooth chip called the nRF53832. app imageThe Bluefruit acts as a data pipe that can transmit information to your iOS or Android device. The “Check Arduino Temp,” IFTTT applet connects with my Google Docs spreadsheet where the determination of the material does or does not do what is advertised.

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“To use a smartphone microphone or not to use a smartphone microphone, that is the question”: A Field Test Proposal for Emerging Media Platforms

In mid April, I had an idea for a digital article that I’ve wanted to write relating to citizens of the African Diaspora (countries that have descent-ion from African people) making their decisions to leave their families to work on a cruise ship. Once I scheduled my interviews, I knew I wasn’t sure if I would be able to talk to them in a quite room. To relieve that possibility, I purchased the Motiv MV88 iOS digital stero condenser microphone from Amazon to get quality sound from my subjects and to make sure that I quote them accurately.

I think buying the microphone was a great investment into my journalism career because it will help me produce in several different forms including digital articles, podcasts, and YouTube videos.

Sadly, a large number of journalists use only the built-in microphone device on their smartphones for gathering soundbites which could lead to misquoting a source, causing liability for the journalist and the company that published the error.

For my submission of the final project for my Emerging Media Platforms class, I will be conducting a field test to see if the quality of the MV88 microphone gives better quality sound compared to the factory microphone and recording devices inside my Apple iPhone version 8 smartphone. The hypothesis of this experiment: does the smartphone microphone work better, or worse, in loud or public areas.

I will conduct a survey for consumers to take which will have samples of both the iPhone and the MV88 recording the same song. The first comparison will be in a quite, indoor space with both devices. The second comparison will be on a noise platform at the 47th Street/ Rockefeller Center subway station. The third comparison will be outside in the center of  Times Square in New York City. All samples will be taken between 6:00 PM and 7:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.

Wish me luck!


DigiAlli EMPJ

The Day Before Graduation: Frances Fortner’s Death Told By Empathetic Media

The end of May is always a special time in Mississippi; the weather creeps up towards the 90s, flip-flops are the it-accessory for every outfit, and visions of young people dressed in caps and gowns with the smiles of hope and excitement of the endless possibilities that are in store for them in the coming days, weeks, months and years. Sadly this celebration was shadowed with tragedy as an outgoing teen was taken from this earth too soon by what could be over a neglected oversite.

On the 17th of the summer month, 18-year-old Frances Fortner was driving down Ridgewood Road in the Capitol City of Jackson in her mother’s convertible when she ran over a manhole causing the vehicle to flip over to her death. What made things worse was that Fortner was driving to her Jackson Academy graduation rehearsal.

Fortner was well-loved by her classmates. The principal ballet dancer was accepted to the University of Missouri’s prestigious journalism program where she was planning to become a news reporter.

A local news station reported that the City of Jackson hired Superior Asphalt who resurfaced the street that same day but did not complete the job and left an open manhole, with no caution barricades, exposed. Witnesses saw several cars drive over the obstruction, earlier that day,  appearing to cause damage to their vehicles before Fortner making contact with the uncovered manhole.

“It definitely could have been prevented,” said a witness, “had somebody just cared a little bit, you know, and radioed a police officer to go park in front of it until the city could come [to] fix it. Completely preventable,”

So how could this story be told in a different way? Using one of the newest forms of storytelling called Empathic Media could be the answer.

Bangor University Professor Andrew McStay says empathic media is a collect-all-term to refer to affect-sensitive technologies employed to make influences about emotions, feelings, moods, perspective, attention, and intention. Artificial Intelligence compliments this format to transmit the scene of the untimely death.

If an experiment was a possibility, the hypothesis would be to use empathic media to give an accurate reenactment of the crash experienced by witnesses during the car crash that left Frances Fortner dead. A field test would be administered to witnesses, homeowners of the neighborhood and law enforcement and first responders that were present at the scene of the accident. A brief survey will be taken by the participants, after the completion of the evaluation, to determine accuracy and which will determine the success rate of the experiment.