By Erin Roberts
The Scripps College of Communication is launching a major student competition offering substantial cash prizes for solutions to innovation “challenges” posed by the media industry. The Scripps Innovation Challenge will be open to all students on campus, regardless of their major, and is designed to help solve specific innovation needs submitted by media professionals and companies. It was announced by Andy Alexander, a visiting professional in the College, during its annual Scripps Day activities on Tuesday.
The contest is funded in part by money earmarked for innovation within a $15 million gift from the Scripps Howard Foundation to the College in 2006. The Grand Prize will be $10,000. Additional prizes will be $5,000 for Second Place and $1,000 for each of five Honorable Mention entries.
“The Scripps Innovation Challenge is a signature initiative that underscores the College’s commitment to fostering media innovation,” said Alexander, former ombudsman for The Washington Post. “While some bemoan the struggles of legacy media, students correctly see this as a time when they can play a critical role in determining how media will be consumed in the future.”
The contest will launch January 17 when a website featuring the innovation challenge options will go live. Students may compete either as individuals or as teams to submit entries by March 13. The winners will be chosen by industry judges during Communication Week, March 18 – 22.
“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 Interim Dean Scott Titsworth. “Because the media landscape is so rapidly changing, innovation is key to the future of the industry.”
Students will be instructed on what entries must contain and will be encouraged to research their ideas and to seek feedback and guidance from experts in the industry. Some experts will be brought to campus by the Scripps College. The website will also feature a “matchmaker” function that will help students of different disciplines to find each other to form well-balanced and interdisciplinary teams. The website will also provide contact information for students in the event that they have questions about specific industry challenges. In addition, students may submit more than one entry.
The theme of this year’s Scripps Day was “Challenges and Innovation: The Future of Scripps.” Additional programming included a focus on international initiatives; a preview of the Schoonover Center for Communication, the College’s new building slated for completion in 2014; and the launch of a new website for the College. Professionals from the Scripps Howard Foundation and the E.W. Scripps Company visited classes, conducted résumé reviews for students in the College and participated in an innovation panel moderated by Alexander. Scripps Day celebrates the partnership between the College and the Scripps Howard Foundation, a longtime supporter of the college.
“The knowledge the panel imparted on the young people today was not only highly informative, but vital to our careers,” said Kaitor Kposowa, a Master’s student in journalism. “The landscape of news and media is becoming ever more social and digital and we have to keep up.”