‘What’s Your Story’ winners point cameras at Internet issues

By Larry Magid

One of my favorite activities each year is serving as a judge for Trend Micro’s What’s Your Story video contest, where we get to reward individual and school young videographers with cash prizes. And, thanks to Trend, those prizes are pretty substantial: $10,000 for the first place in both the individual and school categories and $1,000 for second and third place winners in each category.

Grand prize individual winner

The 2016 grand prize in the individual category goes to Stephen Ko of East Hanover, NJ, whose video Who You Will Be demonstrates the endless possibilities of what you can do and who you can be online. As Ko points out, “we make the Internet,” and what you can find online is as good, or as bad, as what people are posting. Ko admits that there were times when he was on the verge of becoming a troll, tempted to anonymously post mean comments, but, he said, “when I started making my own Internet videos, I realized that behind every status update, Facebook post or online video is a person and all it takes is a single comment to ruin someone’s day.” As a filmmaker, Ko wants to entertain and inspire and, as you can see, he does that very well.

Grand prize winner: School category

The grand prize winner for the school category is A Meaningful Journey by Kiski Area Intermediate School’s Yearbook Staff,  from Vandergrift, PA. In less than two minutes, this whimsical video depicts a student’s typical school day as she uses her phone to keep in touch with friends. But, at the behest of her only slightly irritated teacher, she and fellow students also go online to do their schoolwork.

Other winners

My fellow judges and I had a hard time picking the winners because there were some excellent entries. So, click here to see the other winners and the runners-up.

Finalists were selected based on a combination of views and ratings; the judging panel included representatives from: The National Association of Media Literacy Education, Twitter, Facebook, MediaSmarts, The iCanHelpLine, Connectsafely, and Trend Micro.