Huffpost UK Universities & Education

Leeds University Student Paper First To Launch iPad App

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Leeds University Student Paper First To Launch iPad App
Leeds University Student Paper First To Launch iPad App

Leeds students have become the first to launch a university paper as an iPad app.

Despite setting a precedent for all other student newspapers and designing the app in a mere two weeks, the creators remain modest.

Jack Dearlove, digital and web editor of the Leeds Student told The Huffington Post UK the idea of the app is to "create something built to last".

"Yes, it's amazing being the first to launch but it wasn't the sole reason for creating the app. We wanted to experiment with new ways of getting our content to our audience and increase interactivity. The app contains photo galleries, videos and the ability to tap certain content to reveal new parts to consume."

Despite being one of the few publications whose circulation is on the increase, Dearlove said creating the iPad edition, which had more than 200 downloads in the first two days, allows the students to be "ahead of the game".

The brainchild of Dearlove and editor Lizze Edmonds, the app was born after the student journalists set about upgrading the Quarkexpress software they used to build the paper.

"The latest version allowed you to create content for the iPad and we thought we'd give it a go," Dearlove explains.

"The software Quark provides made everything very easy. Getting things through Apple's review process, however, took a lot longer.

"We first submitted the app to them on 10 January and it took about a month of going back and forth between me and Apple before they were happy. Mainly because of little mistakes I had made, but also because the app runs through 'Newsstand' it requires some extra checking by Apple managers before it's released on the App Store."

Paying for the software and licence was relatively easy, with the newspaper's budget covering the costs. As for usability, "if you use The Times' iPad app you'll know how to use this one," Dearlove says.

But, unlike The Times, Leeds' student paper, which will contain "the best of the paper product but with added interactivity", is completely free.

"If the paper is free to pick up, it should be free to download," Dearlove says simply.

"I hope that loads of people download it, and that when I graduate this summer someone else carries on the work me and Lizzie have done."

But he is not complacent, adding: "Creating the app issues takes time on top of designing the actual newspaper so it needs commitment.

"Eventually, other universities will follow suit. Student newspapers are full of new talent waiting to try out new ideas."