Graduate students at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute have created an iPad app for Scienceline.org, a student-run online magazine that features stories on the environment, life and physical science, and health. The app may be downloaded here.
Scienceline.org, which runs stories ranging from the public-health impact of subway steel dust to advances on holographic video, is published by the Carter Journalism Institute’s Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program (SHERP).
The Scienceline app is designed to be the digital equivalent of a print magazine issue: iPad users can browse through a curated collection of Scienceline content with just their fingertips, and on the go. It is now available for free download from the iPad App Store.
“I think that a lot of things are more intuitive in an iPad format than they are on the web,” says Rose Eveleth, a SHERP student and leader of the group that built the app. “iPads are really good when it comes to integrating a variety of media – like videos, slideshows, and podcasts – with written stories.”
The app showcases the 16 best stories that the students produced during their first year at NYU. Topics range from the history of Mars exploration to the biological and cultural significance of the tumbleweed. The Scienceline website, which is managed entirely by SHERP students, attracts approximately 1.5 million visitors per year and has won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Society of Environmental Journalists.
Dubbed “the shortest distance between you and science,” Scienceline was launched in the spring of 2006.
All of the stories appearing in the new app come with multimedia bonus material. For example, a profile of a Brooklyn-based beer brewer includes a stop-motion animation explaining how beer is made.
“These students have done a spectacular job of conceiving the project and seeing it through,” said SHERP Director Dan Fagin, an associate professor of journalism at the Carter Institute. “They have not only created an important new outlet for some great science journalism, they’ve also taught themselves skills that will be invaluable as they enter a fast-changing journalism industry that is rushing to embrace handheld platforms, including iPad and other tablets.”
The group of students – all of whom will be graduating this December with masters’ degrees in journalism and advanced certificates in science, health and environmental reporting – built the app during their free time over the summer. To do it, they used a piece of software called Mag+, developed by Bonnier Corporation, a major magazine publisher. Mag+ is an add-on to the Adobe Creative Suite, which is widely used in print publishing.
Established in 1982, SHERP is one of the oldest and best-known science journalism training programs in the world. Its 336 alumni work in many types of print, broadcast and digital media in 25 countries. Most have strong academic backgrounds in science and come to SHERP to learn how to report on scientific, medical and environmental topics for lay audiences.
More information about SHERP and Scienceline is available online at www.journalism.nyu.edu/sherp and www.scienceline.org. For more on the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, go to http://journalism.nyu.edu/.