ACU Commits To Bring School Newspaper To iPad, Others To Follow?

ACU Commits To Bring School Newspaper To iPad, Others To Follow?

Abilene Christian University may be one of the small universities in the vast state of Texas, but it is surely making a name for itself in the media market. Particularly the market that pays close attention to Apple.

ACU made waves across the educational and technology markets back when it decided to hand out iPhone 3GS phones to incoming freshmen, and now it's the first major institution to commit to bringing its school paper to the iPad. Apple clearly designed the iPad to be used by newspapers, and we already know that big ones like the New York Times will be jumping onboard to bring their content to Apple's first tablet.

But in our estimation, it will be the reaction of the smaller outlets and lesser-known papers that really defines the iPad. Will this finally be the device that convinces papers to make the jump to digital distribution? There's no doubt that the iPad is tailor made for newspaper reading, and if one school does it, others are sure to follow suit. Dr. Cheryl Bacon, chair of ACU's Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, says students and faculty already are working to bring the paper (The Optomist) to the iPad this Spring. The school delivered its paper in iPhone format way back in the Fall of 2007, and now an iPad Task Force has been formed to "use dedicated faculty and student leaders from across campus to develop The Optimist's new digital publication platform."


"We pay close attention to the way young people consume news," says ACU's Kenneth Pybus, faculty adviser of The Optimist. "They tend to use all the tools at their disposal to get information. With the iPad, we foresee the potential for an explosion in news consumption."

Professors Pybus and Bacon believe the iPad and its publishing platform will yield a marriage of audio, video and text unseen even since the advent of laptops and smart phones.

George Saltsman is executive director of ACU’s Adams Center for Teaching and Learning. "The work we will do leading up to the formal debut of the iPad is an outgrowth of research that's been happening on our campus for three years," says Saltsman. "Our campus community is already riding the next wave of digital communication. Publishing The Optimist on the iPad means our students will be ready to work with this revolutionary technology in the marketplace the minute they graduate. For some of our students, that day is right around the corner -- so of course they'll have a major jump on not only their peers, but also on veteran software developers nationwide."

The aspect of this software development drive that most fascinates Bacon is how it could revive the publishing sector as a whole, and newspaper publishing specifically. "The news business must find a way to keep news delivery profitable. Remaking the model for news delivery is the single most important discussion in journalism under way today," she says. “If our students and faculty, by being in the middle of that discussion, can help devise a profitable new delivery system, we will have accomplished something extraordinary.”


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Does this mean that they will now hand out iphones and ipads to incoming freshmen?  Sounds pricey, but if it gets them to come.

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mentaldisorder:

Does this mean that they will now hand out iphones and ipads to incoming freshmen?  Sounds pricey, but if it gets them to come.

 

I'd rather get that money in cash instead, lol. I'm guessing students are forbidden from using Zunes on campus. I know some graduate programs that heavily encourage students to own certain devices, but I don't remember ever seeing an institution handing them out to students.

 

"Professors Pybus and Bacon believe the iPad and its publishing platform will yield a marriage of audio, video and text unseen even since the advent of laptops and smart phones."

 

Except we still have smart phones and laptops. The transition to digital media would make newspapers profitable again though, but would it be any different than just checking Google News, CNN.com instead?

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from what I am getting is they already hand out iPhone 3gs to new students now they will get iPads either as well or in place of iPhones. But linking there school publications to it seems bigger to me at least in a larger scale. Other public entities may take notice and follow suit.

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The iPhone is one thing, but the iPad hasn't been field tested yet, plus remember because of its reflective surface, the device will be hard to view in sunlight.

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Yes, I know the screen is basically only suitable for reading in doors. However; as this happened so soon after its introduction, I would imagine Apple is sponsoring it to some extent. They get good press and more interested students, and pay half the price at most for an iPad in bulk shipments. They tell the students they get one free, but don't pay for the 3G, so At&t and Apple both get business, and they charge every student and extra 75 bucks a month whether they got one or not as a fee. WIN/WIN/WIN/Lose School/Apple/At&t/Student!

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Yeah, I get the feeling that may be the case. Though I'm guessing the university has free wifi for the students on campus. But even if the school buys the iPad/iPhone for the students, you know they're passing on the cost by raising the tuition proportionately. If I was a student there I would protest this cozy relationship between the administration and Apple.

That's another thing about the iPad that I don't like, the $15/month for 250MB is ridiculous, and the $30/month for unlimited is absurd. With the speed of AT&T's 3G network, you'll be lucky to get the 250 MB of bandwidth.

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rofl those are some good points, However; if you were 16-18 do you think they would be on your mind? I doubt it the first thing on your mind would be getting to go to a cool school which your parents will buy and getting free i equipment. And yes 250MB of BW is a joke especially for a device that last at 10 hour straight use intervals lol.

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you may never know, there could be some geeks out that that just want it so bad they might go there. I for one wouldn't but there are people that would.

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Yeah inspector that's exactly what I was talking about, this is a nation with over 350 million people and new ones are born daily. So to grab 1000 would not be all that hard I would not think if its got an attractiveness In one way or another which this would add to some so I think it's more a publicity stunt to pull some students. Also remember you don't actually have to do good nor stay more than one quarter to owe a school bundles of money.

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rapid1:

rofl those are some good points, However; if you were 16-18 do you think they would be on your mind? I doubt it the first thing on your mind would be getting to go to a cool school which your parents will buy and getting free i equipment. And yes 250MB of BW is a joke especially for a device that last at 10 hour straight use intervals lol.

You're right, as long as this becomes the next cool item, it will appeal to the under 25 crowd. It has many things going against it though, like its high cost and large size. Also, if you already own an iPhone, what can the iPad do for you that your iPhone can't....besides reading e-books (not exactly high on priorities for under-25 consumers). However, if other universities endorse is as a standard textbook replacement, the tablet could have a bright future.

 

BurgendyBlues:

They're assuming that it's going to do well. To be honest I think the iPad is going to be Apple's undoing. They'll likely spend too much money marketing it to a crowd that wants smaller devices, not bigger. The fact that it uses proprietary software and development still depends on a 'middleman' is what makes it not worth buying when compared to a laptop that's only a few hundred more but offers greater utility.

Not even a laptop a few hundred dollars more, it's overshadowed by netbooks within the same price range! It's going to take some very clever marketing for this to work (something as good as the colorful iPod silhouettes). However Apple does have a guaranteed revenue stream from the Applemaniacs who will be lining up for a glimpse of this. The reason why the iPod and iPhone enjoyed so much success is because they appealed to the mainstream consumer. The cost of this device is too high for it to compete against other e-readers and its features are too lacking for it to match up against other tablets/netbooks/lower-end laptops. Sometimes Steve Jobs' over-zealousness can work against him.

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Yeah I agree gibber, the whole picture of this thing just seems off to me. I guess we will see though when it releases and following of course.

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