If you’re part of the growing population with an iPad, you can now search “St. Thomas Magazine” and find a publication with more pictures, video, and even some sound effects.
The editor of the St. Thomas Magazine, Brian Brown, explained that the idea stemmed from reading other publications on the iPad.
“(My co-workers and I) have iPads and subscribe to a number of magazines,” Brown said. “We were convinced that this is the direction publishing is headed, and we thought there was a real niche for university or college magazines as well.”
Freshman Nichole Ferrell said it makes sense that the magazine would head in a digital direction.
“I’m always reading on my iPad,” Ferrell said. “I even have some textbooks on it. When we have articles on Blackboard that our teachers expect us to print off, I just bring that and read it right off there.”
A hard copy of the St. Thomas Magazine is sent to 80,000 alumni, friends of the university, and parents of current students three times each year for free. Brown said that for now, the iPad application also comes at no cost.
“We did look into charging for (the application), and it’s not something we’re going do right now,” Brown explained. “At this point, we want to make sure everyone can get that in their hands and start to see it in this really great format.”
Hiller said she doesn’t believe that students will spend money on a magazine for their iPad.
“I don’t think people would read it,” Hiller said. “We pay for so many things already, so kids don’t need to make payments on a magazine.”
Brown said there have been about 200 downloads so far. Aside from the articles, photos and videos, the app also features sound effects. For example, along with a photo of Monsignor James Lavin walking down a hallway of Ireland Hall, the sounds of footsteps echo through the iPad’s speakers. St. Thomas staff photographer Michael Ekern said this technological step translates into opportunity.
“You get a lot of the benefits of digital with multimedia right there within the article,” Ekern said. “You get more room for storytelling.”
Freshman Samantha Hiller owns an iPad and said that even though the app has some benefits, there is still room for improvement.
“I think it’s really a cool design; it’s pretty functional, it’s organized,” Hiller said. “This might be because I’m impatient, but the one thing that was really frustrating was when it was downloading, it took three minutes.”
Even with all the features and downloads, Brown said the St. Thomas Magazine will stay in print, online and as an application.
“I will continue to do what I can to make sure that we offer the print magazine,” Brown said. “People really like to have that print magazine in their hands. It says, ‘Hey, I’m a Tommie. I’m really proud of where I went to school.’”
The spring 2012 issue of the St. Thomas Magazine will be available in print, online, and as an iPad application in late May.
Laura Landvik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.