Webcast connects viewers from 47 states, 32 countries to THON

February 25, 2008

University Park, Pa. — The 4-year-old Webcast of the annual Penn State Dance Marathon (THON) attracted thousands of online visitors this past weekend and helped spur donations to the event that raises money for The Four Diamonds Fund to battle pediatric cancer.

The Webcast, produced by students in the College of Communications, attracted some 11,077 unique connections during the 46-hour event from 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24.

Most visitors to the Webcast, which was available online at http://www.thon.org, were alumni, students and family members of the dancers.
 
Those visitors came from 47 of 50 United States and 32 foreign countries. The only U.S. states where without an attempted to connect to the Webcast were Alaska, Mississippi and South Dakota.

Foreign countries that produced the most online visitors were Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom. Among the other countries represented were: Azerbaijan, Canada, China, Japan, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Singapore, South Africa and Switzerland.

In addition, the Webcast helped drive online donations to THON and, in at least one case, connect family members.

Specifically, the Parr family from Omaha, Neb., used an online feedback form to contact people from the College of Communications conducting the Webcast and offered a $1,000 donation to THON if the they could somehow reach their son, Alex Parr, a dancer for Delta Kappa Epsilon, and feature him on the Webcast. Parr was featured, and the family donated $1,000 -- the amount it would've cost for his family for airfare to fly to Penn State.

More than 100 students from the College of Communications, led by senior lecturer Maria Cabrera-Baukus, gained hands-on experience as they worked together to produce the live streaming coverage of THON for the fourth year in a row.
 
Telecommunications students in two courses -- COMM 283W Introduction to Audio and Visual Communications and COMM 383 Production Administration -- both of which are taught by Cabrera-Baukus, comprised the core of the production crew for the Webcast. Several other students from different majors volunteered and assisted with the effort.

Also, Chris Maurer, multimedia and computer support specialist, and Karen Mozley-Bryan, manager of facilities, provided additional support on behalf of the College of Communications.

The Webcast, which was also televised on the University Park cable television system, incorporated live floor coverage, pre-produced video packages and video of other aspects of THON. The students got important technical support from Information Technology Services at Penn State and Penn State Public Broadcasting's WPSU-TV.
 
Since the live Webcast efforts began four years ago, online donations to THON have increased regularly.
 
Established in 1973, THON has raised $50 million for The Four Diamonds Fund at Hershey Medical Center.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009