FlashLab Innovation Pitch Final brings the ideas of students to life for student media


Carter Adams, Natalie Meek, Anna Katsas and Cameron Gorman (left to right, holding checks) stand with the other finalists and judges following the FlashLab Innovation Pitch Final.

Jacob Majka

Innovation has been the hallmark of FlashLab since its inception this semester and those ideas were on full display at Thursday’s FlashLab Innovation Pitch Final.

FlashLab is an initiative that serves student media by encouraging students to come up with solutions to problems in student media that have not been addressed in the past. The pitch contest is designed for students to solve problems in student media and present solutions that help with content creation, audience engagement, revenue generation and collaboration.

The Pitch Final was held in Franklin Hall on Thursday, Nov. 29. The event featured six finalists pitching their different ideas to a panel of three judges with a three minute presentation and a Q & A session with the judges before they deliberated and chose three prize winners.

Carter Adams, a junior journalism major and Stater photographer, won the grand prize of $500 for “Safety Security Workshop,” a workshop that would include four days of intensive course work focused on teaching young journalists strategies to stay safe while covering hostile situations.

“We really took (Safety Security Workshop) to heart and hearing how many journalists are put into dangerous situations was surprising and when we heard his idea of how to solve this problem, I think it just made sense,” said Nicole Bitskay, one of the three judges and a sophomore human development and family studies major. “It had a lot of feasibility in that it wouldn’t only help Kent State students but could be used at different universities.”

Natalie Meek, a senior public relations major, won the 2nd place prize of $300 for her pitch. Meek presented “Connections: KSU Student Media Agency.” This will be a public relations agency that would serve KSU student media and serve as a third-party resource for assistance with student media public relations and marketing initiatives.

“I think that this is almost surprising that this hasn’t been put into place yet,” Bitskay said of Meek’s pitch. “I think that speaks to her idea because it would be very successful because of the need for this type of thing.”

Anna Katsas, a junior digital media production major and Cameron Gorman, a senior journalism major and Stater columnist, collaborated together on “Shoot the Gap,” which won 3rd place for a prize of $200. This idea will see that Kent State Independent Films and Luna Negra collaborate on working to adapt a poem or prose from Luna Negra into a short film that can be viewed using augmented reality patches.

“I love their idea. I think it was very innovative and I’m excited to see where it goes because as a student on the Kent State campus I can’t wait to try out this idea,” said Bitskay of “Shoot the Gap.” “I think they have a lot of power with this idea to collaborate on many other ideas as well.”

The winning students will receive $10,000 from student media to implement their ideas to the school the upcoming semester that will be split among the three teams to use to fund their pitches.

“The finalists today, their presentations and professionalism blew me away,” said Kevin Dilley, the director of student media. “They came in with passion and professionalism and tried to sell their ideas. I was so proud of them and so impressed with it and the judges were too based on their reactions.”

Jacob Majka is the CCI reporter. Contact him at [email protected].