Prize winners find more than news in ‘The Universe’

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Three BYU students now have something in common besides being new freshmen on campus: Each won a $100 campus gift card for registering to interact with The Universe during New Student Orientation.

Winners of the gift cards are Maren Bateman, from Ohio, Tyler Torrie, from Alberta, Canada, and Victoria Lionetti, from California.

The registration makes them part of a new community of news “participants” as The Universe becomes even more interactive and expands the ways it gives a voice to its audience of students, faculty, staff and alumni. This interactive community is so new it doesn’t yet have a catchy name, but those who register have the chance to voice their opinions in Universe polls, be notified of on-campus promotions and have an open invitation to text or email news tips, photos or video to The Universe.

Long-timers at BYU know the on-campus news organization best as The Daily Universe, and reminders of that legacy abound on campus with signage on newspaper racks and with The Universe’s mobile apps and Facebook page. The Universe is still daily — online — and publishes a weekly print edition on Tuesdays. The Universe still accepts time-tested reader interaction in the form of letters to the editor in addition to broadening the voice of its audience online. Facebook interaction helps The Universe find out what its readers like. The Universe’s Twitter followers get quick news fixes as stories break online. New interactivity will continue to broaden readers’ options to respond to things beyond a comment or a “like.” Registering is easy at bitly.com/universebyu, and all who sign up are eligible for prize drawings and other incentives in the future.

Front Row Fanatics

Rewarding its audience is not a new thing for news organizations, and definitely not new for The Universe. One of The Universe’s biggest promotion hits is Front Row Fanatics, where the on-campus community can join in competitions for awesome front-row tickets to major sporting events.

Winners not only get game tickets but claim Front Row Fanatics T-shirts that can’t be bought, only won, by competing in Front Row Fanatics events. Event competitions, held in the Wilkinson Student Center shortly before most football, men’s basketball and men’s volleyball home games, include everything from speed texting contests to relay races. The dates and times of Front Row Fanatics events are announced in The Universe during fall and winter semesters.

In a game-day event on Thursday, five people won front-row tickets to the season-opening BYU-Washington State game. They are Kevin Lloyd, Tyler Davis, Brittney Wallentine, Mag Bogner and La’a Bryant.

“My husband and I have participated in Front Row Fanatics a few times,” Wallentine said. “He won volleyball tickets last year, and we thought that was pretty cool. I couldn’t believe it when I won the tickets yesterday,” she said the day after having front-row tickets on the 15-yard line at Thursday’s win over Washington State. “We were pretty excited, especially since we didn’t have any other tickets for the game. My husband absolutely loved the front row seats. He said he felt like he was right in the game, so it was pretty cool.”

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