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Marc Phillips

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Why the iPad 2 is Great for New and Emerging Journalists

Posted: 03/03/11 10:43 AM ET

On Tuesday, March 2, Steve Jobs unveiled the new standard in tablet computing. What he also unveiled was intangible -- the future of mobile journalism.

Many Apple users are in the highly coveted 18-34 age demographic and are consequently young professionals. Combined with iPad 2's new mirroring technology, implementing tutorials in college classrooms will be a breeze.

Interactivity between students and professors will forge a stronger educational connection. Forsaking technology as it gets more advanced is simply not possible. Keeping abreast on new innovations will inspire students and keep their eyes on the lesson and not on their phones.

Ithaca College has recently introduced a new course in applying critical thinking to communications-based scenarios. The course is called "Spark" and it engages freshman and sophomore Park School of Communications students. This past week, my friends in the course Skyped with Park School alum David Muir '95 of ABC News. Joining Muir was his colleague Diane Sawyer of ABC World News. Students asked questions via Twitter with the hashtag #SparkAtPark.

Imagine this setting in more classrooms. Imagine this setting with the Park School students if they each had an iPad 2 instead of their laptops. 10-hour batteries are longer than the MacBook Pro counterparts. Due to the nature of the iPad 2, students are not prone to be distracted with the task at hand -- due to the screen size. Noise and clutter have been eliminated. Technological integration held my friends' notoriously short attention spans for the duration of the class. Consequently, students were asking questions and solving problems.

To quote one tweet from a freshman student, "All classes should be this engaging and educational without me realizing its [sic] educational. #sParkAtPark."

Having an all-in-one publishing suite -- a term I'm using loosely -- is an incredible asset for this generation's of mobile, citizen journalists. An iPad 2 will help capture news as it happens, without fumbling for a laptop, digital camera, and audio recorder.

Let me put out this scenario:

You're fresh out of college and a blogger for a major news affiliate. You have your iPad (whatever future version there may be) in hand and see a terrible car accident. After you alert the police, you can take photos of the scene, record interviews with witnesses and local officials, and package it nicely to be published.

Your news affiliate can edit the video if necessary or you can just directly publish the content with an active Internet connection.

As time goes on, the iPad will consistently improve its camera quality, display and technical capabilities. The implementation of an HD rear-facing camera will hopefully show better than cellphone quality iReports on CNN.

Students of journalism should be taught how to use iPads effectively to convey messages, record content and surreptitiously post to the Internet. News organizations rely on the young professionals to adapt to new technology and ultimately keep on the cutting edge.

I can imagine that over time, new App developers will create simplified, yet professional-grade editing suites for journalists to use on the iPad. Perhaps other Apps can help the journalist package the story into a media kit. The possibilities are literally endless.

All I know, is that this technology is currently emerging, and young college students or graduates now have the opportunity to pioneer this new media -- and truly make it their own. The direction of new media is at the hands of Generation Y.