Walter S. and Syrena M. Howell Essay Contest
Students wishing to apply for this scholarship and prize must write an essay. The student who writes the best essay in 1,500-2,500 words will be awarded the ($3,000) scholarship and ($1,000) prize. Judges may also select additional worthy essays for recognition and scholarships.
The goal of the Howell Essay Scholarship is to encourage student to analyze of propaganda, as defined as, “the use of unproved and/or unverifiable assumptions in a report or statement of allegations reflecting the view and interests of its advocates.”
This contest and scholarship were established by Grant Howell, former editor of The Daily (Royal Oak) Tribune, in memory of his parents, Walter and Syrena Howell.
This scholarship and award is given annually to a ComArtSci undergraduate student who writes the best essay examining media bias, a subject of deep concern to Howell. He was a feisty newsman, in the best sense of the word, always wanting his staff and his newspaper to cover the news fairly, objectively and honestly.
2024 Essay Topic
A 2023 report by Freedom House, a human rights advocacy group, warns of the use of artificial intelligence to generate propaganda. According to the report, the number of governments using AI to steer online discussions in their favor doubled in the previous year to 47. The report said, “AI-based tools that can generate text, audio and images have quickly grown more sophisticated, accessible and easy to use.” This is increasing worries about the growth of deliberate disinformation campaigns.
In your Howell essay, describe the disinformation that has been created and, more importantly, describe roles for the news media’s role in exposing, discouraging and preventing government creation of AI propaganda.
In your essay, which may be text, audio or video, use and cite three sources. In keeping with the spirit of this assignment, entries will be checked to ensure nothing has been generated by AI and that there is no plagiarism. Potential violations will be examined under the School of Journalism’s academic integrity policy.
Your essay should be 1,500–2,500 words and must be focused on this year’s topic. Consideration will be given to analyses with critical thinking and research, including — but not limited to — web searches, interviews with experts on the subject and links to examples. Sources must be properly cited. Essay may be presented in a written or multimedia form. Multimedia essays should include scripts for any video content. Students may also produce multimedia elements as a supplement to a written essay.
Text essays and/or scripts should be in a Word document (.doc or .docx). Do NOT include your name or any other identifying information in your essay files.
To be eligible, entrant must be currently enrolled as an undergraduate with a major in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences and graduating in December 2024 or later. Scholarships are issued for the upcoming fall semester.
Questions can be directed to Joe Grimm at firstname.lastname@example.org.
School of Journalism scholarships are applied to a student’s university account to support a future semester of study. To be considered, applicants must complete the application form for this scholarship opportunity.