Optimist Unveils First Student Newspaper iPad Application

The Optimist‘s iAwesomeness continues to be unparalleled in collegemediatopia.  As promised months earlier, the campus newspaper at Abilene Christian University became the first iPad-friendly student publication. Earlier this week, the paper launched its iPad edition as an application available for free download via the iTunes store.

The iPad push is part of a larger mobile learning initiative at ACU that also brought readers the Optimist on iPhone and iPod touch. The app for the new, mega-hyped Mac device includes features such as real-time sports scores, photo montages, content archives dating back to 2005, and a “dynamic content selector to allow you to move between sections.”  The initial ratings and feedback are positive.  One early customer review: “So far the software works for me flawlessly. The page design is simple and intuitive. Well done to all and I hope other schools and educational groups take note.”

A screenshot of The Optimist on iPad.

In an exclusive chat with CMM in late February about the iPad rollout, Optimist editor in chief Colter Hettich touted the tablet PC’s benefits, while ultimately asserting that the efforts of the paper and school are about innovation more than simply a new killer app:

I think the iPad will take readers one step closer to the type of news consumption they want. It’s textile, it’s customizable, and it’s mobile. . . . This is not about the iPad. This is about understanding a new technology and discovering its potential to improve news delivery. The iPad just happens to be one of the latest devices. We expect maybe a dozen students to have an iPad in the fall, and if it turns out to be as popular as the iPhone, then that will be an added bonus.

Now that it’s successfully arrived, the bigger-picture questions remain: Is this moon landing, one giant leap for collegemediakind territory? Does this ascend the Optimist into the student media innovation heavens, alongside such luminaries as Justin Hall (first blogger), Jennifer Ringley (first lifecaster), and The Tech at MIT (first newspaper online)?  Or is it a bit less exciting- like the student publication that can claim the first Twitter account or the first video uploaded to YouTube?

What do you think?

3 Responses to “Optimist Unveils First Student Newspaper iPad Application”
  1. Alex says:

    You guys weren’t the first, the Valencia Voice was up a mere hour after the release of the iPad!

    Who loves competition!

    Good job though guys!

  2. liam says:

    What a Great blog!Kudos!

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