The Scripps Innovation Challenge Kicks Off


Updated Thu, Jan 17, 2013 4:34 pm

Ohio University students can compete for $20,000 in cash prizes by entering the Scripps Innovation Challenge, a unique contest to come up with creative solutions to problems posed by media companies.

The competition opened Jan. 17. Students are able to access an interactive Website listing an array of innovation problems – or "challenges" – submitted by media companies. Working individually or in teams, students will choose "challenges" they wish to tackle and will have until March 13 to come up with solutions.

Ten finalists will be selected. In mid-April, finalists will present their solutions to a panel of industry judges during a live "pitch competition" open to the public on the Ohio University campus. Judges will award a $10,000 first prize, a $5,000 second prize and five $1,000 "honorable mention" prizes.

The Scripps Innovation Challenge is open to all students regardless of their major. Each entry must include an evaluation of the business aspects of the proposed solution.
 
"We opened 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.

"And by requiring a business evaluation, we're reminding 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 E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.

 
The competition's goal is for students to provide creative solutions to actual innovation problems from the media industry. During December, broadcast, print and online media companies began submitting their "challenges."

 
Among them:
 
Several major television stations are seeking innovative ways to engage college-age "Millennials" who increasingly prefer viewing television on a mobile device rather than a TV set.
 
A newspaper is searching for ways to monetize its large Twitter audience.
 
A multi-media company is looking for creative ways to engage younger readers in submitting news items.
 
A broadcast company wants fresh strategies for generating revenues using existing AM radio signals.
 
 
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.
 
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.