FIRST and National Media

Each time FIRST is featured in the national media teams flock to see it. Excellent! I’m always excited to see it too. Chiefdelphi members are generous people who always want to share with each other. However, we all need to agree right here and right now that no one will engage in copyright infringement and distribution without permission.

In the short run, someone might think, “The team needs this so…” to justify their behavior. I believe Dave Lavery covered this topic rather directly.

Here’s my proposal for a more appropriate reaction from the Chiefdelphi community, remembering the big goal is for FIRST to be covered by more networks to generate more interest and support so we can take the next big step toward transforming the culture:

  1. Post info on all upcoming FIRST TV appearances here - just as always
  2. Post links and info on how/where to buy authorized copies of the program from the network. Think of the overall gain, not just the initial expense.
  3. For those teams that have more resources and are big into helping out rookies and others - buy a copy for those teams too.
  4. Send the networks thank you emails and letters on letterhead for taking an interest in FIRST and for helping us move toward a more competent and cooperative culture.

We NEED the networks to see the overwhelming response so they see a growing market for this work. FIRST staff makes tremendous efforts to bring the networks to FIRST. It is the responsibility of ALL OF US to ensure that the networks come back next year in bigger numbers, more of the time.

Being a part of FIRST means you’ve chosen to participate in something difficult for the sake of your own future as well as helping to change the culture for the better. For that opportunity we all have a corresponding responsibility to “take the high road” and provide the example for others to follow. Let’s all do our part and, over time, we will have many network appearances to talk about.

Great idea, Rich!

I’d suggest a sticky thread for people to post announcements of FIRST in the media and where legal copies can be obtained, very similar to the “Offseason” what/where/when thread.

As for the feedback to the networks - I’m sure that a small group could take that on and do an amazing job. They could be in charge of coming up with example letters, obtaining/posting the addresses to send these to, and convincing people to write these letters. An organized, concentrated effort by a few people would be much more effective than the CD community en masse.

Rich, you are right on target with this one.
This is one of those ethical issues that so many don’t even think about.
I especially like the idea of giving feedback to the networks.

Thanks for helping everyone do the right thing.

Yeah. Um.

I, for one, was just completely oblivious to the fact that it was copyright infringement… I guess I went and thought, since Discovery released it on TV (and not on some more tightly-regulated thing like… a DVD or something), it’s like… as if someone wrote something about first online.

Taping it and not using it for commercial purposes (but to help learning)… I just reasoned as it being as if someone took excerpts from an online article, giving credit all the while, and displayed it elsewhere for general knowledge. After all… yeah, taping and selling it would be obviously wrong, but… yeah.

I guess that was just my reasoning, I had no clue it was piracy or copyright infringement until Dave pointed it out.

Ahh well, you learn something new every day… sorry, Discovery Science. =\

Thanks n0cturnalxb. Lets all move forward and work together to increase the media attention in positive ways.

This thread is definitely raising some ethical issues most people don’t even realize they’re dealing with.

Remember folks,
You need the express, written consent of FOX Sports and the NFL to show a taped football game. :wink:


Rich et al-

Great idea, and great discussion. Taking this to the next step, people can also write to ABC Entertainment (ABC, Inc. 500 S. Buena Vista Street, Burbank, CA 91521-4551, Phone number: (818) 460-7477) and let them know of your interest in getting the the FIRST Movie completed and on the air. If you really want to make an impression on them, come up with a really great idea for a FIRST story and contact one of the news magazine shows yourself to tell them about the idea (e.g. “20/20” or “Primetime Thursday” - 147 Columbus Ave., 10th Floor, New York, NY 10023 or “Nightline” - 1717 DeSales St. NW, Washington, DC 20036).

And then once they film the story and get ready to broadcast it, let us all know! When it is broadcast, invite the entire team over, stock up on Diet Cokes and Krispy Kremes, cook up ten batches of popcorn, and let everyone watch it on big screen TV together. You can even tape it and save it for your own personal use (and certain educational and research uses that staisfy the criteia for permitted exceptions) - just don’t distribute it or re-broadcast it. :slight_smile:


p.s. For anyone that is confused about how we got here, this thread and this post kicked off this whole thing. It started out as a great discussion, but took a right turn in the middle somewhere…

Things written online are just as likely to be copyright as things on paper or things on TV.

There is a myth that anything online is free or not as ‘real’ as something on tv or in a book. Guess what, it is the content that matters, not the medium.


Very good discussion.

Another area of media exposure for FIRST and FIRST teams is through magazines. There are many opportunities for the writers on your team to have their FIRST stories appear in magazines which will raise awareness of this wonderful program to those who do not know of us. When we do see a magazine story about FIRST and FIRST teams, we need to let the editor know, through feedback, that the story was worthwhile. In this way, more exposure opportunities could arise. Of course, the best way to show approval is to buy the magazine issue that has the story instead of just making a copy of the article. Thus, running this type of story proves beneficial to the publisher, especially if it leads to a subscription. Everybody wins.

And now a plug for just such an instance. SERVO magazine is currently running a four part series following a second year team through this last year’s season. The first installment came out in the September issue and will continue through the December issue. The articles are written by the team members and probably speak to most teams and their experiences. I will admit that I am quite close to this situation as it is the team which I mentor and I have pride in their efforts. That said, SERVO magazine, since it only deals with robotics, is a great resource for anyone interested in all aspects of this growing field.

Bill Woolley

Corp! Magazine (Michigan’s largest magazine) featured the 2004 Automation Alley Technology Award winners in the September 2004 issue. These awards recognize leaders and organizations in several areas. One of our mentors submitted F.I.R.S.T. Robotics for the Educational Program of the Year and won. There was an informative half page article included and a regional competition photo on the cover. Back issues are available from their website for $6.45.

Jay TenBrink

Definitely a good campaign idea for this Fall. Hopefully, ABC (or NBC Dataline) will come on board for the January Kickoff and report weekly on their show the progress of selective teams during FRC 6.5 weeks of robot building. Even 5-10 minutes a week of reporting will be great PR. The whole CD/FIRST community will promise to watch their show!
1000 teams can translate to a large viewing audience!!!
I’ll even watch the commercials too.

(BTW Dave- Diet coke & Krispy Kreme; an oxymoron?)

Oh, I know - content, not medium. I just took the whole thing to be something like an online news article (e.g. from that you’re generally allowed to show/use for educational or research purposes as long as you give credit to the correct source.


As for the rest of this news media stuff - sounds really interesting. Never thought of getting publicity for FIRST this way… but… hmm.

Might prove to be another attractive procrastination device… :slight_smile:

Heh, and if FIRST gets more recognition in general, maybe my school’d finally give us a little monetary support >\

The news media would be awesome!

I know that I have given one of our WildStang DVDs to my mom’s boss who gave it to his good friend, the dean of admissions at RIT and from what I have heard it is currently bouncing around the Eastern Coast somewhere.

I guess that’s a step in the right direction… now all we need is National TV coverage of the FIRST Program!