iPhone/iPod Touch Requirement

Recently, there’s been some buzz around campus about the new J-School requirement for freshman in Fall 2009: they’ll be required to purchase an iPhone or iPod Touch, though some will receive it free if they purchase a laptop bundle through TigerTech.

I’m Academic Affairs Chair for the Missouri Students Association, and we received a lot of concerns from J-school students about the requirement. Even though it will only affect incoming freshmen, they wanted to voice their opinions. And because we advocate for students, we wanted to make sure their voices were heard. So we made a resolution to collect as many opinions as we could and form a recommendation to School of Journalism administrators that details both our ideas of support and of concern for the new requirement.

We’ll be finishing that letter this week and have talked to a lot of people, but we want to get as many more student, alumni and faculty opinions as we can first. If you need more information on what, exactly, the requirement will be, there’s plenty of articles floating around with explanations straight from Dean Brooks, but if you have any specific questions I can try to redirect you to where they can be answered. Just email me at erica.zucco@gmail.com.

But what I need from you are your opinions. If you have just a moment or two, I’d really appreciate it if you would comment here OR email me at erica.zucco@gmail.com with your thoughts. Feel free to send me any free-form input….if you aren’t sure what to say, here are a few questions to get you started…

* How do you think you might have benefitted from an iPhone or iPod Touch during your time so far at the J-School? Or if you have one already— how have you?

* If a current student: would you download lectures to your iPhone or iPod Touch in order to rewatch them, specifically from J1010 and J1100?

*If a faculty member: How would you use this device as part of instruction or enhancement of student learning?

*If alumni: How are your newsrooms, communication firms or other places of employment affected by, or how do they use, mobile devices?
* Are there any purchases, technological or otherwise, that you think are necessary for incoming journalism students?
Thanks so much for your input— it’s greatly appreciated! Your name/contact info will not be used in the recommendation in any way; we are simply trying to get opinions from a variety of individuals.

Please feel free to comment or, if you’d prefer, email me at erica.zucco@gmail.com— and please do not hesitate to pass this on!





Filed under General Journalism thoughts

7 responses to “iPhone/iPod Touch Requirement

  1. Hi Erica,

    I wrote about this issue on the blog I started this year: http://kathlynclore.com/?p=254

    In general, I don’t think an iPod or iPhone is necessary for students. From what I have seen they’re still too expensive to be an industry standard.

    Good luck and thanks for your initiative.

  2. fsk50a

    Personally, I think its ridiculous. I own a Blackberry, which as someone on the MizzouMafia journalism listserv mentioned, most professionals in Washington D.C. uses. Lots of organizations still use the Palm Trio as well. Why does it HAVE to be an iPhone or iPod Touch? If you’re going to teach mobile journalism, why mandate a certain device?

    I think it’s a gigantic waste of money especially for freshmen to buy one. Don’t you still have to be a Junior before you even enroll in J school? Plus, how is the iPhone going to be used in the introductory course, which to my recollection was mostly consumed by papers and discussions about ethics. Aside from the practical courses, and aside from the ability to download lectures and have a better reason to skip class, what the hell are people going to be doing with this device?

    Speaking of ethics, how is it ethical for the vast majority of the school to own Apple devices, market Apple, and still have the objectivity required to report on Apple?

    It truly boggles my mind.

    Francie Williamson
    BJ 2000

    • Thanks for your response! I also have a BlackBerry, and I like it a lot. It’s nice to have Internet wherever I go, and it helps with reporting that way, but I think I would have even been fine with no smart-phone at all, really.
      And yes— you don’t really have anything but intro J-School classes until at least sophomore year, when you’d start the most entry level hands-on classes. So the devices would simply be for downloading lectures and school info, and wireless access (as well as experimentation, but that responsibility really falls on students).

  3. I still have memories of the textbooks I bought and barely used during my time at Mizzou. This is pretty ridiculous, especially the tenuous argument about downloading and watching class lectures. Plenty of folks had that option waaaay back in 2003 and it didn’t catch on. Why would students suddenly get jazzed about sitting through the same class twice?

    Take notes! That’s the one skill they’re SURE to need in a real newsroom.

    • As per downloading lectures- I probably wouldn’t have re-watched lectures in those intro classes, but maybe if I missed class I’d tune into one. I agree that I doubt students would watch the lectures two times, allowing for that “hear-it-three-times-remember-it-better” effect, for sure…. I also wonder whether recording professors’ lectures would be OK with all of them— or if the use of iTunes U would bring into issue intellectual property rights. We’ll see, I guess!

  4. jayvee

    J-school alum here. I work at a national consumer magazine where Macs are the norm, and almost every editor totes an iPhone or Blackberry. I’m constantly using my iPhone to record interviews, take pictures on the scene, and Tweet. We’re giving students a tool that will help them become good reporters!

    • That’s nice that Macs are the norm at your magazine— it’s what we’re used to now here at the J-School! A lot of students are concerned, though, that the majority of professional newsrooms we’ll eventually graduate and apply for jobs at have primarily PCs. Has this been your experience (or that of any other alumni or journos!) or are you seeing a greater mix as time goes on?

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