Friday, March 19–Voting Opens For Online Summer Travel Reporter

BERLIN – Thirty-four applicants have applied for Host Our Coast, an online contest created to select a summer travel journalist.

Delmarva Low-Impact Tourism Experiences (DLITE) is looking for the perfect person to Host Our Coast, exploring Delmarva’s beaches and bays this summer, and reporting back daily with online videos, photos, and blog posts.

The lucky winner will receive $15,000 to play on Delmarva’s coast all summer and is provided living accommodations at local hotels, bed and breakfasts and campgrounds where he or she will live free for the entire three-month assignment.

The application process included posting a 60-second video to YouTube, and submitting a headshot, brief biography and sample travel blog post. The successful applicant will spend the summer exploring the parks, small towns, events, museums, and heritage sites of Delaware and the Eastern Shores of Maryland and Virginia, and creating an online video and photo gallery, a daily travel blog, and a social network through Facebook and Twitter.

At 2:30 a.m. on March 16, Full City Media switched the Host Our Coast website, www.hostourcoast.com, to a grid featuring the videos and bios for all 34 applicants. Fans of the Host Our Coast contest and applicants have until midnight, March 31, to vote for their favorite applicant. Fans can vote once each day.

Based upon the voting and submissions, semi-finalists will be chosen to go on to Round Two of the contest. Semi-finalists will be given three days to complete a video assignment, which will be posted on the Host Our Coast website. Fans will have another two weeks to vote for their favorite. A winner be selected and announced by late May. The new Host will begin documenting Delmarva travel for the summer season starting Memorial Day weekend.

DLITE will provide the selected travel journalist with daily assignments to report back on Delmarva’s most unique coastal events, people and places. Assignments will include kayaking, cycling, hiking, wildlife watching, beachcombing, and fishing – if it involves water, sun and fun – it will involve the “Host Our Coast” winner.

This contest is sponsored by a partnership developed among DLITE, the Rural Development Center at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Worcester County Tourism, Southern Delaware Tourism, Full City Media and OceanCity.com.

The inaugural Host Our Coast was conducted from April through August 2009. Seventy-four applicants from around the U.S. competed in the contest. The 2009 contest winners, Paul Cox and Melanie McLean, spent the summer exploring Delmarva and posting amazing stories and images of their travels on the interactive Host Our Coast website.

By the end of August 2009, Host Our Coast had more than 6,000 unique visitors, 3,000 regular online followers and 600 Facebook fans. Articles written about Host Our Coast were valued at more than $50,000. In November 2009, Host Our Coast was awarded the prestigious “Visit Maryland Award” by Governor Martin O’Malley and the Maryland State Office of Tourism, and the “Professional Impact Award” from the Maryland Tourism Council.

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