3rd Annual FlashLab Pitch Contest Opens

Welcome to the 3rd Annual Student Media FlashLab Innovation Pitch Contest: The Year We Need It Most!


The goal of the pitch contest is to discover, fund and support innovative and exciting ideas from our students to solve challenges, large and small, faced by our Kent State Student Media partners individually and as a whole. In a constantly evolving media market, innovative and experimental ideas are essential to the continued success of any media enterprise, including Student Media. We are seeking our students' creative ideas to help guide Student Media toward growth and progress in the areas of content creation, audience engagement, revenue generation and collaboration. While COVID-19 has changed the world as we know it, we believe it presents a unique opportunity to slow down and foster thoughtful innovation that will benefit our partners.


WHAT: A fun, competitive contest to develop innovative ideas in the areas of content development, revenue generation, audience engagement and collaboration. Winning ideas have the chance to receive funding to launch their ideas within Kent State Student Media. Your ideas may be inspired by our current challenges and may be directly related to solving problems created by COVID-19. However, they do not have to fit this criterion. Again, it may provide a chance to explore different solutions to problems that Student Media partners have been facing due to the changes COVID-19 has presented us with.

WHEN: Submissions open Sept. 15th and are due by 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 22nd. Judges will review the submitted pitch and announce the finalists on Oct. 29th. Finalists will then have until Nov. 20th to submit a final video presentation of their pitch. Videos will be judged during Thanksgiving break, and winners will be announced the week of Nov. 30.

WHO: All currently enrolled Kent State University students are invited to make a pitch. Entrants do not have to be connected to a Student Media partner, though they are encouraged to collaborate as they see fit.

AWARDS: This year’s winners will share $1,100 in prize money – 1st - $500, 2nd $300, 3rd $200 and new this year the People’s Choice winner will receive $100. In addition, one student may be awarded the 2nd annual Sol Baltimore award for innovation in Student Media. The top three finalists will be considered for seed funding through Student Media.

HOW: Rules and FAQs are listed below.

MORE: To learn more, contact Director of Student Media, Kevin Dilley, [email protected].

ENTER HERE: FlashLab 2020 Submission

STEP ONE: Identify an opportunity

Some people call these problems or challenges. For us, these are opportunities to build, improve, invent and innovate. Look around Student Media in the areas of content creation, audience engagement, revenue generation and/or collaboration. This could be focused on your specific area or span across multiple (or all) media partners. It also may be focused on pandemic-based problems that have arisen since March. PRO TIP: Stay focused and remember that these ideas can be focused solutions to small problems or opportunities.

STEP TWO: Develop a solution

Work alone or collaborate in teams to develop an idea to solve this problem. Brainstorm, discuss, research, blue sky. PRO TIP: Find collaborators who are not involved in Student Media but who might be media consumers or might be involved in entrepreneurship, business, art or other disciplines.

STEP THREE: Build the idea and pitch

Look at the pitch form here. Be clear about your idea, don't worry about getting too deep into the weeds. Focus on the idea, the audience, the budget needed to get this idea off the ground. PRO TIP: Watch for pitch and idea workshops to be held throughout the coming weeks. Seek out help from groups like LaunchNet, or see Kevin for more help.

STEP FOUR: Edit your proposal

Edit, edit, edit. Show your idea to a couple of people who haven't heard this yet. Let them give you feedback. This will improve your pitch. Give it to somebody to make sure your grammar and style are clean and consistent. You don't want to be overlooked because of sloppy writing. PRO TIP: Read your pitch backward, from last line to first line. This will help you focus on just the grammar, not the larger ideas.

STEP FIVE: Submit your written pitch

Don't forget this part! You have until 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 22nd, 2020 to submit your written pitch. No changes to submitted pitches will be accepted after the deadline.

ENTER HERE: FlashLab 2020 Submission

STEP SIX: Submit video pitch (for finalists only)

If you are selected as a finalist, you will then have until Friday, Nov. 20th, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. to upload a 7-10 minute video presentation of your idea. This submission is in lieu of an in-person pitch presentation in order to adhere to the Flashes Safe Seven principles. This video will be uploaded to YouTube and will then be judged from Nov. 20th to Dec. 4th. There will be a first, second and third place winner selected, along with a People’s Choice award. Places will be determined by judges and People’s Choice will be determined by the number of likes received on the video pitch. Winners will be announced on or around Dec. 7th during a virtual awards ceremony.


1. ELIGIBILITY: Participation is open to currently enrolled students at Kent State University. Those not enrolled may participate as long as they are teamed with an eligible KSU student. Contest judges and their respective affiliates, agents, immediate families, and people living in their households are not eligible to participate. Kent State Student Media, at its sole discretion, shall determine eligibility of any individual or entity, and may disqualify any participant at any time for any reason. In the event of a conflict or potential conflict between submissions, Student Media, in its sole discretion, may choose to reject or disqualify one or more submissions.

2. SUBMISSIONS/REGISTRATION: Between September 15th and October 22nd, 2020, you must submit your initial application online though the form here. Registration and submissions will be accepted only via this submission form. You must provide a valid KSU email address, which will be the means used to communicate with you. All applicable sections of the submission form must be completed to create a valid submission into the contest. Submissions may be made as a draft and may be edited up until the closing date on October 15th, 2020. On October 22nd, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., all submissions will be considered final.



Judging will be based on the following criteria:

5. PRIZES The following monetary awards will be awarded to the winning teams, to be divided evenly among team members. The award will be distributed, via check, within 30 days following the final round and announcement of winners:

6. BUDGET FOR WINNING IDEAS: Winning ideas may be eligible for launch funding. The amount of money, if any, awarded to each winning idea will be determined by the director of Student Media. The director will work with elected Student Media leaders whose media group is involved in the implementation of the idea. Elected leaders maintain the "sole authority to determine content for the media they lead" per University Policy 4-12.1 A1 and therefore may decline to participate in the launch of any winning idea that involves content decisions. In the event of a declination by a Student Media leader, there will be no budget money awarded for the winning idea. If the winning idea involves multiple media partners, budget will be apportioned appropriately.


Winners and/or the media partner implementing the idea will be required to submit two separate written progress reports regarding their submission to the director of Student Media. The first summary is due March 15, 2021 and the second summary is due April 15th, 2021. The summaries should be between 300 and 500 words and include how prize money has been spent, what specific actions have been taken, and what has been learned or accomplished.

RIGHT TO CANCEL OR MODIFY : If for any reason the contest is not capable of running as planned, including but not limited to, infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes which corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of the contest, Kent State Student Media reserves the right at its sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the contest.

By participating in this contest, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to the following statement:

As a primary investor in your idea and its implementation, Student Media reserves the right to use your idea in its entirety, along with any assets associated with the idea, for any and all purposes, in perpetuity. As the original owner of the idea, you will retain equal rights and ownership to the idea for your own, non-competition purposes. The contest is an open and collaborative process. Once ideas are submitted, they may be shared with others including, but not limited to judges, and used in marketing purposes for Student Media.

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