A Pair of iPad Links

The answer to “should I abscond to NY to play journalist this summer?” is, of course: read everything that’s ever been written about that possibility!

Unrelatedly, FishbowlNY offers an optimistic view of the iPad.  Both universities and the top-down journo longview anticipate that iPad will revolutionize how people read.

Starting next year, Seton Hall will provide all incoming freshmen with an iPad.  Students will download their reading from the university’s Mac-supported bookstore, as the university attempts to “lighten [students’] backpacks”:

Pennsylvania’s Seton Hill University announced yesterday that they will launch the “Griffin Technology Advantage Program” wherein each full-time student enrolled at the school will be given an iPad beginning with the 2010 fall semester.

Administrators say this will facilitate the way students work and share their research with others. They also hope that students will be able to download their courses’ reading materials onto their iPads directly through Apple’s iBookstore, thus, as university president JoAnne W. Boyle put it,”lightening their backpacks.” In addition to the iPads, incoming freshman will also be given MacBooks, which the school will replace in two years. Upper classmen have the choice of opting into the laptop program should they wish.

Evidently the old-world tradition wherein students left apples on their teachers’ desks is passee!

And here’s the same blog quoting the kids of folks who oughta know, predicting a parallel iPad-driven renaissance in journalism:

In a Monday interview with Katie Couric, Time executive editor Nancy Gibbs said that e-readers offer a superior platform for long-form writing:

You know, the — the one problem with — with the Internet for journalists who like doing long form is that any story that’s going to involve 16 screens [on]] the Web page, that’s asking a lot of people. But these devices that are designed to read books on, you certainly can imagine people being happy to read three- and four- and 5,000-word long form journalism stories on. So I think, actually, there promises to be a renaissance of the kind of serious investment journalism and storytelling that, you know, we all love to do.

And now today, Newsonomics blogger Ken Doctor takes a similar view.

The web’s always been about quick news reads. Perhaps, the tablet can recreate the pleasure of long-form journalism reading. My guess: it depends on the journalism. Graydon Carter makes the good point that storytelling endures, online and off. Maybe the tablet newly nourishes it.

All of this sounds great, but isn’t the real problem our attention spans, rather than content medium?  Folks aren’t shunning books in favor of Blackberries because hand-helds are easier to read; we shun books because lately no one wants to focus on page-after-page of substance.

App-centered growth is a fantastic opportunity for many fields.  Renaissance requires more than mere opportunity; it requires a paradigm shift.  We will see a renaissance in information consumption when educators and journalists can prove that there is still value to deep comprehension, rather than merely Wiki-ing to cut to the chase.

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