Magazine Class Builds iPad App

Students in the SJMC magazine class have launched an iPad app version of their publication, Curb.

Available for free in the App Store, Curb features content from the print version of the magazine plus video and multimedia pieces from the website the students produced.

The app development began with last year’s Curb class, which produced a women’s magazine that also debuted as an app. This year’s Curb is a Wisconsin lifestyle magazine that is “anything but expected.”

Both sets of students were outfitted with iPads for the semester, thanks to a grant from the UW General Library System, supplemented by the SJMC. They used the devices throughout the semester, studying how other publications maximized content for the platform.

“With every new technology comes the chance to engage students in creative thinking about how to reach audiences in new ways,” says Katy Culver, the instructor in the course. “Giving students a device puts it in context for them and gives them a richer understanding of the user experience.”

Culver applauded the students’ openness to the experiment and their work ethic in bringing the app to sale. Editor Jamie Stark saw the benefits of the project as he used the iPad daily as Curb developed.

“Having the iPads for an entire semester allowed us to find out for ourselves what works and what doesn’t as major magazines and other media make the move to the App Atore,” Stark said. “I’m now surprised there isn’t more of an effort to teach about tablets and their part in our generation’s future careers.”