RU Pissed off? Video contest steeped in controversy

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By Maiya Keidan

Last week, Ryerson doled out $9,000 in prize money for the RU Ryerson video competition, but some students think it was more of a popularity contest.

On March 19, Ryerson awarded prizes of $5,000, $2,500 and $1,500 to the top three videos, as voted by approximately 1,200 students.

The contest asked for three-minute video submissions that showcased their experience on campus. While the contest was popular, many participants said a lack of regulations on how competitors could market their videos overshadowed the actual quality of the entries.

The second place video, “Shannanigans at Ryerson,” by Lara Harb and Ola Jayzeh Al-Hallak, has come under flak from other contestants. Their video was confusing, had poor content and bad lighting and graphics.

“It was a garbage video,” said Tochukwu Osuji, a first-year radio and television arts student who entered a video into the contest.

Margaret De Bellis, who also entered, said she recalled a hush descending upon the audience when the second place video was announced.

“The whole place’s mouths dropped,” she said.

Al-Hallak, a first-year business management student, said her group was really shocked when they won, but believes the three best videos won.

She was intimidated to even enter the competition because she didn’t have any experience with cameras.

Sid Naidu, vice-president student life and events and a member of the RU Ryerson committee, said the competition was developed with the goal of making the competition accessible to students from all academic backgrounds.

“We weren’t necessarily looking for high quality. So, you could have shot it easy on a regular camera,” said Naidu.

Third-year radio and television arts student Patrick Daggitt said he had some concerns about the competition, even though he and his group took home first place for their video.

During the first few days of voting, Daggitt was surprised other groups were handing out flyers about their videos or showing them on laptops. He’s worried that the competition turned into a popularity contest.

“Someone approached me to vote for their video and they weren’t even showing it (the video). They were just bringing me right to the log-in screen.”

Once his group realized the different strategies being used, they decided that they too should encourage others to vote for their video. “We bothered all of our friends, all of our girlfriends and boyfriends. We got them to bother their friends.”

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