Welcome to the 3rd Annual Student Media FlashLab Innovation Pitch Contest: Spring 2021

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 continuing 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. You can win up to $1,100, and winning ideas may receive launch funding. 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 Tuesday, January 26th and are due by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, February 26th. Judges will review the submitted pitch and announce the finalists on Friday, March 12th. Finalists will then have until Friday, April 2nd at 11:59 p.m. to submit a final video presentation of their pitch on Youtube. Videos will be judged during Spring Break, and winners will be announced the week of April 19th.

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 Submission Form 2021

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 Friday, February 26th to submit your written pitch. No changes to submitted pitches will be accepted after the deadline.

ENTER HERE: Flashlab Submission Form 2021

STEP SIX: Submit video pitch (for finalists only)

If you are selected as a finalist, you will then have until Friday, April 2nd 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. 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 April 19th 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 January 26th and February 26th, 2021, you must submit your initial application online though the link 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 Friday, February 26th. On Friday, February 26th at 11:59 p.m., all submissions will be considered final.


* Fill out all sections of the submission form. If any part of the form does not apply to your idea, please label “N/A”.

* Form must be written in English.

* All ideas must be original, the individual or teams are solely responsible for making sure the ideas are their own.


* Dates are subject to change.

* Evaluation of submissions will occur in two (2) rounds. The decisions of the judges will be final in all instances.

* On or about Monday, March 1st, judging of the written pitches will begin, and will continue until approximately Friday, March 12th. Judges will choose a set of finalists from among the pool of submissions. The finalists will be required to upload a video presentation of their pitch to YouTube by Friday, April 2nd.

* The video round will give each finalist a chance to pitch their idea and elaborate in more detail than the written pitch. During the video round, the judges will select the top three finalists awarding a first, second and third. One finalist will also be selected as “People’s Choice” dependent upon the number of likes on their video pitch.

* Judging on the video pitches will begin Saturday, April 3rd, and will end on Sunday, April 18th, with the winners being announced on or around April 19th.

* All submissions may be publicly announced during or after the judging period.

Judging will be based on the following criteria:

* Innovation (50%) – How innovative is the idea? Is it a new venture for Student Media?

* Relevance (25%)-Does the idea introduce or promote new areas of content, revenue, engagement, and/or collaboration?

* Structure (25%)- Is the idea well organized? Does the proposal/pitch seem viable and well-constructed?

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:

* First Place: US $500

* Second Place: US $300

* Third Place: US $200

* People’s Choice: $100

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.

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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