Tech journalists from 14 leading publications will go head to head Dec. 16 to raise $10,000 for One Laptop Per Child to distribute 50 laptops to students with disabilities in the U.S. But instead of competing on a story, they'll be challenging each other as DJs.
"[Tech the Halls] was the brainchild of our marketing guy, John Lee," says Sabrina Horn, founder, president and CEO of Horn Group. "Every year we do a holiday card. This year we wanted to do something different that was also philanthropic."
The 14 journalists, from publications including Advertising Age, Forbes, Maxim and Wired, will face off on Turntable, an interactive social-listening platform, starting at 12:30 p.m. (ET). Audience members will vote for their favorite DJ, and donations can be made on the Tech the Halls page on Crowdrise. The winning DJ will present the money to OLPC, a nonprofit whose overall goal is to provide every child with a laptop.
"We talked to OLPC, and they were so thrilled," Horn says. "We went to meet with the people at Turntable, and they said they'd never seen anything like this before, using Turntable for social good."
Heading into the competition, Tech the Halls has already raised more than $5,000 in donations through crowdsourcing. In addition, Horn says, company employees have set up internal challenges. "If we raise $10,000, the guy who runs my New York office will have to shave his beard and the guy who runs my San Francisco office will have to grow a mustache," she says. "If we surpass $10,000, I'll give everyone a day off."
The competition starts at 12:30 p.m. (ET) Dec. 16 with an opening ceremony and a special guest DJ, the Hood Internet. The first matchup begins at 1 p.m., with two DJs competing in each 30-minute time slot.
"It's been really fun for everybody to rally behind, and people said they think it's a really cool event," Horn says. "If it's successful, we'll do it again and probably expand the concept."