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OHIO’s Scripps Innovation Challenge finalists announced

Mar 21, 2013

Prof. Mary Rogus, right, stands proudly with some of the Scripps Innovation Challenge finalists, many of who are her students, after the Scripps Celebration on Wed., March 20. Prof. Rogus turned her broadcast senior seminar class into a brainstorm and planning session for the Innovation Challenge. Pictured are, from left, Kaity Conner, Matt Forsythe, Emily Kimble, Kaylyn Hlavaty, Matt Digby, Sarah Tranelli, Isaiah Griffin and Rogus. / Photos by Megan Westervelt

OHIO’s Scripps Innovation Challenge finalists announced

Teams to pitch ideas, prizes to be awarded April 11

By Erin Roberts

ATHENS, Ohio (March 21, 2013)—Ten finalist teams for the Scripps Innovation Challenge, an Ohio University campus-wide student contest sponsored by the Scripps College of Communication, were announced March 20, 2013, at the Scripps Celebration in Walter Hall Rotunda. Prizes for the contest, totaling $20,000 will be awarded after team presentations on April 11, in the Baker Center Ballroom.

The goal of the competition is for students to provide creative solutions to actual innovation problems from the media industry. The Scripps Innovation Challenge opened Jan. 17 with the launch of an interactive website listing an array of innovation problems—or "challenges"—submitted by media companies. Students across campus were invited to work individually or in teams on solutions to the problems and then submit them along with business evaluations of their solutions. Eighteen submissions were submitted by the March 13 deadline.

“This competition is intended to do more than simply teach students about the importance of media innovation,” said Andy Alexander, a visiting professional in the College and contest coordinator. “It's also an opportunity for them to actually help media companies solve real problems by producing innovative solutions.”

In three weeks, finalist teams—and one student working alone—will present their solutions to a panel of industry judges during a live “pitch competition” open to the public. The event begins at 1 p.m. on April 11, and will conclude with the presentation of a $10,000 first prize, a $5,000 second prize and five $1,000 “honorable mention” prizes.

The ten finalist teams and the challenge each chose to tackle, are as follows:

  • Brianna DiPilato, Amy Gregory, Kaylyn Hlavaty, Chu Wu; Convince Older Newspaper Readers to Embrace Digital Products
  • Devin Bartolotta, Matt Digby, Glenn Janos, Leah Petrovich, Sara Tranelli, Ryan Vibbert; Craft a Strategy to Get More Young People to Consume News
  • Nii Kotei Nikoi, Tracy Tinga, Reda Hassan; Craft a Strategy to Get More Young People to Consume News
  • Kaity Conner, Jacob Corrigan, Isaiah Griffin, Kaitor Kposowa, Bradley Parks; Create Ways for Readers to Tailor Information to their Needs
  • Matt Forsythe, Emily Kimble; Use “Augmented Reality” to Engage Media Consumers
  • Warnaka Gunawardena, Sumali Hewage, Praveen Gopallawa; Use “Augmented Reality” to Engage Media Consumers
  • Ryan Kara; Create a Mobile App for Local Events, Eateries and Attractions
  • Chris Pinchot, Gina Ranalli, Alex Martinez; Create a Mobile App for Local Events, Eateries and Attractions
  • Sicon Li, Andrew Winter, Ben Weibel, Justin Howell, Rose Troyer, Erica Staeuble; Create a Mobile App for Local Events, Eateries and Attractions
  • Nicholas Ruebel, Tyler Means; Invent a Way to Instantly Share Public Safety News with the Public

The contest is one of many ways the Scripps College has tried to promote and expand on the culture of innovation at Ohio University.

“I am very excited to support the Scripps Innovation Challenge as a tool and a resource in helping students to learn how to innovate to solve the needs of the media industry,” said Scripps College of Communication Dean Scott Titsworth, telling the audience before the announcement that the positive feedback about the College’s efforts in this area from the industry is rewarding.

Alexander agrees that contests like these are important, and commended Ohio University faculty for acting as mentors to student teams.

“A number of faculty members urged their students to enter the competition and then worked closely with the students as they prepared their entries. In a sense, these faculty members served as behind-the-scenes mentors, guiding the students as they researched their 'challenges' and then helping them fine-tune their submissions,” he said.

Four judges chose the finalists in the preliminary round. They are:

  • Rachael Larimore, BSJ ’95, the managing editor of
  • Ed Pieratt, BFA ’77, who retired as the director of technology for The E.W. Scripps Company
  • Randy Rieland, BSJ ’73, the digital editorial director at Remedy Health Media
  • Peter Shaplen, a former ABC producer and media consultant who has taught on occasion at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism

The Scripps Innovation Challenge grew out of a $3 million endowment for media innovation from the Scripps Howard Foundation. For more information on the contest, visit