Salukis flip out

By Gus Bode

Shortly before the close of 2008, mtvU gave 100 flip Mino camcorders to 100 college students and told them to capture a story.

Two SIUC students, Travis Sprague and Caroline Rogers, were among those involved with the experiment, called ‘What the Flip?’

Ross Martin, head programmer for mtvU, said ‘What the Flip’ is about how technology makes it possible for everyone to tell their story and discover how all the stories are connected.


He said the experiment is organized by themes, and the participating students were asked to capture certain elements and upload their videos to an mtvU Web site. It was after doing so that those involved began to realize what they had in common.

‘When put together, almost like intelligent design, you start to uncover a larger narrative,’ Martin said.

Sprague, a graduate from Pittsburg with a degree in radio television specializing in broadcast news, said it was interesting to see the connectivity of the videos from students nationwide.

For his contribution, he said he covered the collection of election memorabilia on display at the University Museum in Faner.

‘I saw it as a way to showcase something that was unique to Southern Illinois University,’ he said.

Rogers, a senior from Bethany studying journalism, chose to cover the ‘Abortion is Murder’ display that was on campus in October.

She said she was not sure at first if she would have anything to turn in, but enjoyed the experience because it forced her to come up with an idea and work to see it through.


‘You had to be a little bit more creative with it,’ she said.

Both students were chosen for the competition after being nominated by professor Anita Stoner.

Though the experiment was not a competition as much as it was a chance for students to get their voices heard, Rogers said she thought every participant was a winner because they were allowed to keep the camcorders.

Martin said the results of ‘What the Flip?’ were incredible, but that the students’ skill and dedication no longer comes as a surprise to mtvU.

‘The level of talent simmering on college campuses across the country is unprecedented,’ he said.

To view Roger’s and Sprague’s videos, as well as others, visit

Genna Ord can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 275.