Information about the new Media and Technology Innovation Award sponsored by Comcast

Blog Date: 
Friday, February 15, 2013 - 14:57

Teams, I am very sorry for getting this information out so late to you.  I recognize how much you have going on, and how important it is that you have information early so you can plan your seasons. The good news is, I am now ready to give you all the details on this award.  As you can see from the headline on this blog, the Digital Media Award has gone through a name change.  It is now the Media and Technology Innovation Award sponsored by Comcast.  We’re very happy to have Comcast sponsoring this award!

While the name of this award has changed, the criteria has not.  You can find this information in the FRC Administrative Manual, Section 6.8.  We will be updating this section soon with the new name of the award and submission information. 

As a reminder, the winner of this award will be announced at the FIRST Championship this season.  This award will not be available for Regionals, District, or District/State Championships. However, every FRC team is eligible to win this award, whether you will be present at Championship or not.

Submissions for the award will be made through STIMS.  Submissions will open on March 1st, and close on March 22nd

Submissions will take the form of a media plan.  Teams will be submitting their media plan, in the form of a PDF file, not to exceed two pages including graphics, that includes both their strategy and any results that have been tracked (include web site traffic, # of friends and/or followers, likes, etc.).  This document should include applicable links, urls, and hashtags that provide access to the digital properties you created including but not limited to web and video sites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, Pinterest boards, mobile apps. 

Good luck!

I’ll blog again soon.



I'm rather disappointed that the award will not be available at regional events; however, I'm pleased that we now have a way to submit.

I understand that there is a lot of logistics to set up for an award like this, but only having one award for thousands of teams provides little hope (or enthusiasm) for teams looking to participate. Hopefully, next year there will be an award at each local event to increase hope and enthusiasm. When I tell my marketing students about this tonight, they will be crushed. They have been working hard to get their website/etc completed, and now their chance of getting an award is next to zero.

Is there no value in the process that leads up to the award submission? Of course there is. I believe if a mentor provides the right motivation/objective/relevance to any worthwhile task then the students will benefit (ie, knowledge and skills improvement) - and feel good! - about their award submission ... win or lose.

hopefully the regional website or media award can return in the future. Its sad to see many regional awards like animation and website disappear.

I join Carl in my disappointment that teams will not be able to compete for this award at district, regional and state championships. Our Web and marketing team had been working toward this award and were excited about submitting their efforts at each event. Marketing, web and media open doors for students with a variety of talents to belong to a FIRST team...and some of those kids will never touch the robot. Shouldn't they be afforded the opportunity to compete with their peers at each level just the way those who work on the roboot or chairman's award, etc. are able to?

I too am disappointed that the award is only available at the Championship. The mission of FIRST® is to transform our culture, and as with all such transformations, requires significant communication. By awarding teams at Regionals, District, or District/State Championships, there would be a greater incentive to spread the FIRST® message. I believe the importance of the Media and Technology Innovation Award is as great as awards such as the Gracious Professionalism® Award and the Engineering Inspiration Award. I hope FIRST® will consider recognizing teams at all competitions.

Please reconsider your position on awarding this new award only at the FIRST Championship this season. All marketing teams work very hard to communicate the excitement and values of FIRST on a local level, and they should have ample opportunity to be recognized for their efforts at the Regionals, District, or District/State Championships. This award is coming out very late, but there is still time to have teams bring the media plan to these events for judging. Please reconsider. All marketing teams would be very grateful.

Please highly reconsider regional awards for this. It is highly unfair for several teams who worked hard on their websites and such to have zero to no chance on winning this award at Championships.

I agree with the above points made by my fellow mentors. Please recognize more students at the Regionals, District, or District/State for their efforts. If FIRST wants greater positive exposure beyond the typical engineering student, it needs to encourage the business, marketing and design students at ALL levels. FYI, the Build Team doesn't care. They do not need external accolades but are internally driven to design and compete and are happy to be a well kept secret. Also,I believe that selecting only one winner does not reflect well on Comcast.

Thanks to everyone who provided feedback on this. As I noted in my original blog announcing this award in December (, while this award will only be given at Championship this year, we will be reviewing it for expansion in 2014. I, too, believe team media efforts deserve broad recognition. With a new award and a new process, though, we want to make sure we have things running well before we roll it out extensively. Also, as with all our awards, there is value to all teams who participate, not just the teams who end up with trophies.

What message are Comcast and FIRST sending with the decision to pull the plug on the Regional and District awards just a few days before the deadline? Our Marketing and Media students have put much effort into promoting FIRST and are now thinking, "We are being pushed aside in favor of a few dollars by a new FIRST partner." Our team members are encouraged to find the 'best possible solution' to a challenge; and maybe there is still time for FIRST to do the same thing by reinstating the local awards. Can we keep the award criteria the way it was and blend in Comcast's ideas down the road?

As Director of Instruction for a school district I deal with motivation, student engagement and learning, I too am disappointed in the way this was "rolled out". Many teams in FIRST have been working diligently with their technology communications. My team started at ground zero. We recruited a new mentor,and trained new kids; now, most will not have an opportunity to showcase what was done. What makes FIRST so valuable is the real-world learning that takes place in collaboration with peers and adults. Kids must have exepectations early in order to rise to the challenge or motivation falls.

You've touched on one of my favorite subjects - motivation. There are many questions here related broadly to FRC. How many awards should be given out, so we're neither giving out too many nor too few? How do we keep teams who are running with minimal resources motivated to compete with teams who are well financed and have plenty of mentors?

Motivation is a big deal when you're asking kids and mentors to kick in the time required to build a robot in six-weeks and tackle some pretty daunting tasks (climbing a pyramid for instance). Our third-year team competes in Michigan where there are 20-years+ teams that consistently win at the national level. Like many, we don't have their resources. Personally, I think awards such as the former Web, Spirit, rookie and so on, are necessary for young, resource-poor teams. Awarding excellence in those areas recognizes what makes FIRST so special...that there are roles for all (to be continued)

continued from previous)kinds of talents. They are the awards that give struggling teams such as ours hope of being successful in some way. A chance to win a Web site or spirit award may be a team's only chance to "shine" at a district event in MI where frequently you're competing against several resource-rich teams that are participating in their third or fourth event and already have secured a spot at states. In such circumstances, when you're consistently up against the best, it's hard to keep kids who've worked hard from feeling defeated. Spirit and Web awards, ease that let-down a bit.

I'm trying to understand the "why" of this award being given to only one team. Is there a dollar value associated with winning it? Is that why there are no regional winners?

I understand the desire to increase the scope of the Website Award to include other types of Media. However, it doesn't seem as if FIRST is quite ready to implement this new award at this time. Would it be possible to allow the Website Award to remain for one more year at the local level while the bugs are being worked out for this new award? This would allow more teams to receive recognition for their efforts. The new media award could still be handed out at the Championship as well and then expanded next year to replace the Website Award.

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