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Home » Launch » Off our nut: Squirrelcast

Off our nut: Squirrelcast

Beth Fox


We've lost our minds. Please send help.

 

UPDATE: Apparently the week of April 8 is Squirrel Week, and our furry foray into the world of squirrels was recognized by the Washington Post. We’re doing important work here, people.


Every year, universities around the country take great pleasure in April Fool’s pranks. And every year, we sit back and watch the madness unfold and say to each other: Next year. Well this year, we pulled the trigger. What started as a “hey that might be cute” idea turned into our office doing almost nothing but planning, writing, editing and animating for an entire week.

The result? Squirrelcast.

Working off of the popularity and ubiquity of Vanderbilt’s weekly online newscast VUCast, Squirrelcast imagines what would happen if we decided to increase viewership by reaching out to a large, untapped market: our (also ubiquitous) campus squirrels.

We published a news story on myVU, the university’s faculty/staff news site, and shared the heck out of it on our social media channels.

This was a true collaboration from our office and our colleagues in News & Communications. The news release was written by Melanie Moran; the Squirrelcast script was written by Amy Wolf and me; the squirrel images were created by Lacy Tite and Kelsey Wynns; the audio was recorded by Amy Wolf and Mike Todd; our fearless leader Beth Fortune tolerated our insanity; and Kelsey put it all together into a video form. He also wrote the background music!

We may have gotten a little squirrely assembling this, but our nuttiness is worth it.

We present to you our news release, and Squirrelcast:

 

VUCast video goes to new format to reach burgeoning demographic

Posted on Monday, Apr. 1, 2013 — 5:30 AM

The popular VUCast newscast featured on the Vanderbilt homepage has gone to a new format to reach a previously untapped campus audience – squirrels.

Former VUCast anchor Amy Wolf

“At first it sounded nuts, but it turned out to be a no brainer,” said former VUCast anchor Amy Wolf. “When you look at the sheer numbers of potential viewers, the squirrels have it.”

Finding enough squirrels to staff the revamped newscast was not a challenge, Wolf said, but getting them to focus was.

“And they almost invariably wanted to bury the lede.”“They have lots of great ideas, but were constantly running off in every direction,” she said of the first shoot.“And they almost invariably wanted to bury the lede.”

These challenges aside, Wolf believes the Vanderbilt squirrels clearly have a leg up on those found at other top universities.

“Vanderbilt squirrels aren’t ordinary squirrels. They are extremely competitive, but also highly collaborative,” she said “They already have started digging in to stories about squirrel seating on the new berm in the football stadium and research on how to finally crack the squirrel-proof cages popular on bird feeders.”

VUCast might just be the first step for these furry campus denizens. Unconfirmed reports indicated plans for a squirrel-only Munchi Mart in the new College Halls are in the works, and that university mascot Mr. C has been polishing his resume in anticipation of a possible squirrel replacement.

 


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