Rochester Paper's 'Impossible' Contest Spans Platforms

By: Joe Strupp The Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle is holding a city-wide contest that seems to go a bit beyond the usual trivia game or clip-and-send coupon.

Touting it as "Picture The Impossible," the competition that launched last Saturday and ends on Halloween requires readers/contestants to follow a mix of scavenger hunt-type games in the area, online contests and print-based activities.

A collaboration with the Lab for Social Computing at the Rochester Institute of Technology, the contest is aimed at promoting the newspaper, but also seeks to bring different communities together and raise money for local organizations, say editors.

"It is a community adventure game," says Managing Editor Traci Bauer. "We tried to get out across all of the platforms as much as we could."

Readers who sign up online choose to be on one of three teams, or "factions," as they are called. Each faction is assigned to one of three local charities for which money is raised as the teams earn points for each competition.

The competitions range from outdoor activities that involve going to certain locations to puzzles in the print edition. "We hope people get into it and collaborate," Bauer said. "It is about enjoying the activities."

Since Saturday, at least 1,400 readers have signed up, Bauer said. Each person earns points for each successful activity, with those earning top points invited to the contest's Halloween Gala on Oct. 31.

Among the activities:

* Photosynth challenge: Shoot a group of photos of a specific subject in Rochester, then use Microsoft's Photosynth to create a collage that is judged by a panel. The winner gets tickets to the gala.

* Crossword Puzzle - Each Sunday crossword puzzle for four weeks is designed specifically for the contest. A key phrase is found in the answers and, when entered online, wins points.

* Photo Jigsaw Puzzle - Each of the newspaper's four zoned weekly community inserts will have one of 16 pieces of a photo jigsaw puzzle during the next four weeks. Players must put the pieces together and identify the photo subject to earn 1,000 points.

"We hope people will get in and collaborate on that one," Bauer said. "They are already teaming up." She added that players can collaborate and communicate online. "You will meet people in other parts of town," she added. "People you would probably not otherwise talk to."

Sponsors include Microsoft and Kodak, among others. The game Web site is here.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here