In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the 2014 Media Sandbox Challenge asked students to delve into the issue of civil rights in America.
Participants covered current civil rights issues for a magazine of their choosing while making it relevant to the publication’s audience. They also produced videos to display those same civil rights topics in a multimedia format.
The $5,000 grand-prize winner, advertising and arts and humanities senior Scott Swanson, chose Monocle magazine to explore Detroit’s multicultural growth. He challenged the perspective of Detroit as a down-and-out city by revealing a city where the “D” stands for “Dreams” – dreams that the younger generation are cultivating while tearing down and healing the wounds afflicted by racism and discrimination.
“(From this project) I’ve learned to always go after your dreams,” Swanson said. “Once you have enough drive to go after that dream and accomplish it, (the outcome is worth it) because you never know what can actually happen.”
The four-person team of Izak Gracy, Reid Masimore, Andrea Raby and Austin Thompson-Truchan received the $2,500 Voter’s Choice Award by stepping out of their comfort zones and investigating the racial barriers on Michigan State University’s campus. They chose Vice magazine to explore how far MSU has come since Brown vs. Board of Education.
“I learned so much about genuineness and multiculturalism,” Raby said. “We went into this saying, ‘We have a lot of ‘white’ friends, but why is that?’”
Third place prizes of $1,500 went to the three-person team of Nicole Cottrell, Lilly Switzer and Luke Ferris (Rolling Stone) and to Wenting Zhou (Teaching Tolerance). Fourth place prizes of $500 went to Patty Szczepanski (Time) and Lauren Lahrman (Playboy).