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Student media innovation contest to offer $25,000 in prizes

Dec 5, 2013

Student media innovation contest offers $25,000 in prizes

ATHENS, Ohio (Dec. 4, 2013)—Ohio University students will compete for $25,000 in cash prizes with the second annual Scripps Innovation Challenge, one of the nation’s most unique contests designed to develop creative solutions to real problems posed by media companies.

Registration for the Scripps Innovation Challenge opened December 2 and the “challenges” submitted by various media companies were released on the website at http://www.ohio.edu/scrippscollege/innovationchallenge/2013_challenges.cfm. Working individually or in teams, students will choose “challenges” to tackle and will have roughly two months to come up with their solutions before the competition closes in March with the selection of finalists. Past challenges have included entries such as “How to get more young people to consume and contribute to local news,” to “How to run a successful community awareness program in the 21st century.”

Finalists will present their solutions to a panel of media industry professionals who will select the winners during Pitch Day on April 21, 2014. More than $25,000 will be awarded by the end of the day: a $10,000 first prize, a $5,000 second prize and five $1,000 “honorable mentions.” This year, the contest features a diversity component for solutions that address underserved and underrepresented communities. An additional $5,000 in prizes will be awarded to student teams that successfully address reaching a diverse community or audience.

Unlike many college innovation competitions, the Scripps Innovation Challenge is open to all students, regardless of academic major. Also, each entry must include an evaluation of the business aspects of the proposed solution.

“We open it to all students because we recognize that some of the most creative media innovation solutions may come from non-journalism majors, like those studying engineering or business,” said contest coordinator Andy Alexander.  He added, “Last year at our first Pitch Day, you could see the active engagement between students and industry professionals on the panel. It was exciting to see the vitality as both students and professionals sought new ways to broaden and deepen people’s engagement with news and media.”

“By requiring a business evaluation, we remind students that there’s a cost attached to innovation,” he said. “Someone must pay for development and implementation, and ideally there should be a potential revenue stream.” Alexander, a former ombudsman for The Washington Post, is an Ohio University graduate (’72) and is a visiting professional in its Scripps College of Communication.

Ohio University’s Scripps College of Communication is one of the nation’s leaders in offering curricular, co-curricular and extracurricular activities around media entrepreneurship to students. Through course electives, contests and a digital media incubator, students can take ideas developed in the classroom and create their own startup companies.

Dr. Michelle Ferrier, associate dean for innovation, research/creative activity and graduate studies at Scripps College, says the contest is about the process.

“All students, regardless of major, should understand the processes for taking an idea and bringing it to fruition. However, media entrepreneurship is, especially, critical for communication students who are entering a dynamic job market. Many will be innovating within companies or creating their own businesses,” she said. “The Innovation Challenge gives them skills in working in a team, developing financials, and especially in learning how to pitch an idea.”

Student competitors are encouraged to offer solutions that take full advantage of the range of new media platforms, tools, technologies and applications being used today. These might include gaming, interactive graphics, geo-based media and all aspects of social media. In addition, students may develop innovations in business processes or practices that speak to the challenge.

The Scripps Innovation Challenge is managed by Ohio University’s Scripps College of Communication and grew out of a $3 million endowment for media innovation from the Scripps Howard Foundation in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University is a leader in communication education and is generally regarded as one of the top five programs in the nation. The Scripps College, with nearly 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students, offers degrees in more than 20 nationally acclaimed programs and was named a Center of Excellence in Culture and Societal Transformation by the state of Ohio.

Media Contact: Marisa Dockum at (513) 444-6142 or  md189010@ohio.edu