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Notre Dame Junior is This Year’s Nick Kristof Contest Winner

NicoleSgangaHeadshotThe John W. Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy receives nowhere near the kind of media attention heaped on J-schools like Columbia, Northwestern and USC. But program director Bob Schmuhl is rightly expecting a recent development to help change that.

Long Island native and current student Nicole Sganga, who is majoring in film/TV/theater/political science with a minor in journalism/ethnics/democracy, is the winner of this year’s “Win a Trip with Nick Kristof” contest. She will travel with the Pulitzer winner this summer. From a report in student newspaper The Observer:

Sganga, who is currently studying abroad in Notre Dame’s London program, said she is trying to keep an open mind about the trip and looks forward to using her multimedia skills outside of the classroom.

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Mediabistro Course

Overcoming Writer's Block

Overcoming Writer's BlockUse proven tools and exercises to get back to writing! Starting July 15, learn a process that will help you pinpoint your optimal writing conditions, structure your time and build a framework to increase your productivity. Register now! 

Arizona High School Pair Headed for Worldwide Pants Festival

WritopiaLabLogoNow in its fifth year, the Worldwide Plays Festival put on by David Letterman‘s production company and Writopia Lab can always be counted on to showcase fresh new talent. When the 2014 edition rolls around in May, the precocious playwright ranks will include Arizona high school students Peter Chipman and Victoria Stiely.

Per an Arizona Daily Star report by Kathy Allen, Chipman has been – since the fourth grade(!) – writing Tar Struck, episode-by-episode parodies of the original Star Trek TV series. He and Stiely began working on their winning comedy entry just two days before the submission deadline. The result, Set Back, is propelled by a hilarious premise:

“Two actors walk on stage ten minutes before curtain and realize the entire set is missing,” Chipman said. “It was a huge set.”

Indeed. The script refers to a diner, apartment, factory and underwater research station, now all gone. The props are, too.

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After 129 ‘Best in Show’ Awards, This Top Dog is Calling It Quits

When your dog’s name is the impossibly majestic word-combination Afterall Painting the Sky (more recently abbreviated to just Sky), you have perhaps a karmic edge at big stages like the 138th annual Westminster Kennel Club contest, which came to a close last night at Madison Square Garden.

2014BestinShow

We feel we owe it to this five-year-old terrier, who delivered to her Malibu, CA owners a triple-crown grand prize last night, to celebrate her Tuesday night victory. According to a report in SoCal newspaper the Press-Enterprise (Sky was put through the pre-show paces in Rialto), that’s all she wagged:

Gabriel Rangel, who has a reputation as one of the country’s top dog handlers, led Sky through her paces. This was the second dog he has taken to victory at Westminster — he won in 2010 with a Scottish terrier named Sadie.

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NYC Duo Sing Their Way to Victory with ‘Oscar State of Mind’

Just how good is the “Empire State of Mind“-derived winning entry in GoldDerby’s recent Oscar nominations video treatment contest? Good enough for site founder Tom O’Neil to pass along to TV show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, for possible ABC-TV/AMPAS promotional use.

“Their “Oscar State of Mind” performance is so brilliant, slick and breezy that they should be performing it at the Dolby Theatre on March 2,” O’Neil suggests to FishbowlNY. At the very least, the Academy should consider enlisting video stars Samantha Massell and Ted Stevenson for some sort of participation in either the broadcast or online multi-cam experience. The latter is becoming an increasingly essential second-screen experience.

“When I ran the video by Zadan and Meron, they said that they had their Oscar promos all wrapped up,” adds O’Neil. “Too bad.”

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Kleiner Perkins Fellows Off and Running

If you’re looking for a nifty illustration of the “next” tech generation, click here. On the page are thumbnails of the 2013 Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers fellows for design and engineering. Roll over any of the photos and they will flip to reveal where that person is interning this summer in Silicon Valley as part of the program.

There’s Academy of Art University design student Heather Tomkins (pictured), tapped for Klout; USC engineering student Katherine Anderson, already at Chegg; and several dozen others from UCSD, Pomona College, Stanford and elsewhere. This year, the KPCB competition received nearly 2,000 applications from more than 200 universities and conducted in excess of 450 interviews. Here is how Tomkins got to Klout:

Tomkins submitted her Academy thesis project, an interactive children’s book for the iPad called The Bear and the Picture Camera. She designed the book in a way that allows the reader and the main character to explore and draw together — a type of combination she felt was missing in the iPad children’s book market.

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Bible-Themed Short Wins Its British Maker a Trip to LA

How does one connect a passage from the Bible to the infamous McCarthy era? If you’re Simon Cookson (pictured), it all starts with the conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus in Acts 9:1-31.

Cookson was recently declared the winner at Pinewood Studios of The Pitch, an annual short film competition that awards a £25,000 production budget and trip to Los Angeles. This fall, the maker of The Light will come to Los Angeles with a friend or family member and get to meet with – among others – Ralph Winter, producer of the X-Men franchise. From the film description:

A police lieutenant during the Red Scare of the 1950s suddenly rejects his former oppressive ways, but realises the biggest struggle will be to convince everyone else he’s truly a changed man…  As we follow Merle, from bully with a badge to hanger-on and speaker at The Way, dreaming of jazz and freedom, we witness a seismic shift, both in one man and in a people. The Light is the story of a man with a past that he’s trying to forget, and a society that might not want to let him.

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Ustream Show Casting Far and Wide for New Co-Host

The aggregate reach of CRN Digital’s weekend showbiz show LA LA Land is 11 million+ U.S. homes. Currently, the Sunland, CA-based broadcaster is hoping to mine one of those households for on-air gold.

Viewers who feel qualified are being asked to submit a digital video audition for consideration as Brett Chapin’s next co-host. The contest entry deadline is this Friday, October 19, to be followed by some broadcast tryouts:

Five finalists will be selected to co-host shows from October 24 to November 16. Viewers will be asked to vote on the finalists and the winner will be announced on the air November 24.

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LA Filmmaker Wins HuffPo Journalism Contest

Beverly Hills-based documentary filmmaker John Wellington Ennis already blogs for the Huffington Post. But via video message from founder Ariana Huffington, he was recently gifted with a major additional assignment: helping with on-the-ground coverage of the upcoming Republican and Democratic national conventions in Tampa Bay and Charlotte.

Ennis is one of eight winners of an OffTheBus sanctioned video competition launched in February that sought Ustream citizen journalists. The winners will be divided into teams of four, remotely trained and then sent to one of the two events, with travel, lodging and expenses reimbursed. Here’s Ennis’ winning entry:

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Typing Karaoke W-i-n-s Second Annual Hollywood Hack Day

It was quite the scene last night at io/LA, a new incubator and work-share space in the heart of Hollywood. Row upon row of tired young male programmers, putting the finishing touches on 48-hour works of wonder and then presenting their proofs-of-concept in front of a panel of well-qualified startup industry judges. All part of the close of the second annual installment of Hollywod Hack Day.

While visiting (and co-sponsor ineligible) east coast Tumblr programmer John Bunting got the crowd all worked up at one point with his hilarious Dancing Party Gifs, which strung together select motion grabs to a thumping soundtrack, the grand prize winner was Travis Chen with the clever game Typing Karaoke. Instead of belting out the words, users test their typing skills by trying to keep up on the keyboard and follow-along screen with song lyrics. Warning: “Call Me Maybe” is not for the faint of QWERTY heart.

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Newspaper Publisher Launches Nationwide Social Media Competition

American City Business Journals (ACBJ), parent company of the Los Angeles Business Journal, has announced an ambitious and rather cool competition called “Social Madness.”

Through May 15, companies in 43 cities served by ACBJ can enter their firm into the appropriate employee-size category. Local winners will be selected by July 17, while national champs are to be crowned September 11 and garner the privilege of donating $7,500 to a charity of their choice. From today’s announcement:

Social Madness participants will be ranked based on a scoring algorithm that measures social influence. The algorithm will track votes on bizjournals.com, LinkedIn connections, Facebook activity and Twitter followers during the challenge period…

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