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Seven finalist teams advance in Scripps Innovation Challenge

Mar 27, 2014

Seven finalist teams advance in Scripps Innovation Challenge

Pitch Day on April 21 to conclude with $25K in prizes

By Katie Quinn

ATHENS, Ohio (March 27, 2014)—Seven Ohio University finalist teams were selected from field of 31 entries to advance in the 2014 Scripps Innovation Challenge at the Scripps College Celebration on Wed., March 26. The final teams represent students from majors across the university, including mechanical engineering, meteorology, information and telecommunication services, journalism, finance and marketing, strategic communication, and visual communication among others.

Students selected from seven challenges presented by media industry professionals that included how to better alert residents to closings and cancellations to engaging communities throughout the news cycle.
This year’s Scripps Innovation Challenge attracted a record 31 entries by 27 teams. The finalists will compete for $25,000 in prizes. New this year is a $5,000 diversity enhancement prize for the team whose solution best reaches underserved and underrepresented audiences.

Dr. Michelle Ferrier, associate dean for innovation at the Scripps College of Communication says this year’s competition was intense, but valuable for students whether they were finalists or not.

“Students learn lessons in teamwork, innovation and creativity, market research, environmental scanning, development, negotiation, leadership and financials. They learned to take the theoretical and practical of the classroom and apply it to this unique set of challenges,” she said. “And hopefully all of our students who competed this year will walk away from the challenge with a renewed sense of the value of an Ohio University education and the skills and talents they’ll take into the world.”

The seven teams will advance to Pitch Day, on April 21 from 2-6 p.m. in Baker University Center Ballroom on the main campus of Ohio University in Athens, where they will present their ideas live before a panel of media professionals and an audience expected to include hundreds of students, faculty and communication industry professionals. The event is free and open to the public.

The finalists include:

Challenge 1: Closings and Cancellations:

  • Team AIRheads with Arielle Patterson, Rachel Bailey and Morgan Eastman and their idea of the AIR Center.
  • Team Let’s Connect with Sanusi Shehu and Freddy Rubenga and their multi-platform solution for closings and cancellations.

Challenge 2: Monetize Twitter

  • Team E.G. 501 with Enakshi Roy, Ehsan Ardjmand and Naeem Gul with their CATS
  • Team Pivot with Sam Fox, Anthony Aerni, Jacob Betzner, Caitlyn John, Alexa Miller, and Carl Johnston and their product “Chirp” that provides a social media dashboard for users.

Challenge 3: Loyalty Program

  • Team Casino Loyale with Alyssa Pasicznyk, Kelsey Hoak, Avery T. Jennings, Olivia Bevan and Alex George with their idea that lets users rack up points that they can use with local partners.

Challenge 6: Non-Traditional Newscast

  • Team Digital Convergence with Angela Reighard, Allen Henry, and Christa Lamendola for their newscast that combines “snackable” news items, user story ratings through social media and TMZ-like audience interaction.

Challenge 7: Community Engagement

  • Team Athena with Lindsay Friedman, Alex Harshaw, Sierra Ferrier, Josh Aldrich and Sabrina Reda for their idea of a hyperlocal news app that engages users throughout the news cycle.

The entries, which included video presentations along with detailed business reports, were evaluated by communication professionals from throughout the country. They include:

  • Marc Rosenweig, associate professor of journalism at Montclair State University
  • Art Smith, online manager, Parkersburg News and Sentinel and The Marietta Times
  • Randy Rieland, digital editorial director for Remedy Health Media
  • Sheila Gray, co-anchor of WKRC-TV’s “Good Morning Cincinnati”
  • Ken Klein, executive vice president, Government Relations for the Outdoor Advertising Association of America
  • Bob Benz, digital media executive, formerly with Hanley Wood
  • Carla Kimbrough, associate professor of journalism, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • P.J. Bednarski, former executive editor, Broadcasting & Cable Magazine; writer for
  • Luke Pittaway, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, Ohio University

The Scripps Innovation Challenge, now in its second year, was open to any Ohio University students, regardless of major. More than 144 students participated in 27 teams representing four colleges across Ohio University.

Student participants have lauded the competition as a unique learning experience.

Enakshi Roy, a Ph.D. student in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and leader of Team E.G. 501, said “We wanted to make use of the opportunity and the platform Scripps College was giving us.”

Alexis Johns, a public relations major, worked on a team that tried to solve a challenge from a media company looking for ways to monetize its Twitter followers.

“The expectations are high with this challenge, but coming up with an innovative idea isn’t the only tough part,” she said. “Once our team had an idea, it involved a great deal of research about our client, audience and the tactics we were planning to implement.”

Videos of the finalists’ work can be found here:

Additional details on the challenges can be found on the Innovation Challenge website at