USF finalist for 4th hour of ‘Today’ show
Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 11:09
USF became one of six university finalists yesterday in a Twitter competition, the “Kathie Lee and Hoda College Challenge,” in which one winning school will host Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb's Fourth Hour segment of the “Today” show in the first week of October.
USF students and others may vote in the second round of the competition at http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/49037139/, where they can vote for their favorite finalist school until Sept. 23. The university with the most votes by Sept. 24 will win.
In the first round of the “Today” show-sponsored competition, which started on Sept. 5, Jenna Withrow, University Communications and Marketing (UCM) social media coordinator, and several other USF students and staff sent out multiple tweets from their accounts to #KLGandHodaU with pictures and videos showing school spirit, pride and why USF would be the best spot for the “Today” show broadcast.
The “Today” show personnel judged the tweets from each university based on creativity (30 percent), originality (30 percent) and evidence of the most school spirit (40 percent).
“For instance, one of the things we did was — when NBC hosted the republican presidential candidates debates in January — at the end of the debate, Brian Williams, debate moderator, said ‘Go Bulls!,’” Withrow said. “We isolated that ‘Go Bulls’ phrase and created a YouTube video out of it right after it happened. So what we did as part of our promotions on USF Twitter and Facebook accounts was take that video … and said something to the effect of ‘Hey guys, remember the last time NBC was here, this happened. Let’s bring the “Today” show here to see if something great can happen again.”
Withrow said while the details have yet to be revealed, the show could bring good publicity to the university.
“I imagine they would talk somewhat about that campus,” she said. “They have to describe where they’re at, but beyond that they haven’t released what the talking points of the show would be.”
Other USF students, like Deni Brave, a senior majoring in public health, posted several tweets with pictures of students at a 2012 Week of Welcome event and hundreds of people standing in a USF letter formation at the USF soccer field.
Brave said he was inspired by the Twitter competition.
“I just started tweeting about it every chance I got,” he said. “I texted all my friends, I texted my family back home. Today, when I found that we were in the final six, I was like ‘I gotta get more people to vote, I need more people to tweet.”
Lara Wade-Martinez, university spokeswoman, said news correspondent Haines would visit all six universities for a “live promotional spot to publicize that university and to get them more votes.”
Wade-Martinez said Haines plans to visit USF within the next week.
“This morning, she was actually live from Syracuse, which is one of the six finalists,” she said. “It showed them at Syracuse. They talked to a couple of the students as to why Kathie Lee and Hoda should do their show’s from their university. So it's almost like a mini pep rally to get attention and vote for their school.”