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A North American college has urged new journalism students to buy iPhones, exploiting a funding fiddle to promote the gadget as a learning aid.

According to a local newssite's report, incoming students at the Missouri School of Journalism (MSJ) will now be sent a letter telling them to buy either an iPhone or iPod Touch before course starts.

Students who refuse to buy one of the Apple devices won’t be booted off the course. The school’s only labelled the iPhone and iPod Touch as a "required" course tool so that students can apply for funding.

“The reason we put 'required' on [the letter] is to help the students in financial need,” said Brian Brooks, Associate Dean at the Missouri School of Journalism.

But why Apple gadgets specifically? The answer isn’t clear. Brooks hinted that MSJ lectures are recorded as MP3 files so that students can listen to them later. MP3s can be played back by a wide range of devices that don't have an Apple logo attached to them.

“There’s been some research done that shows if a student can hear that lecture a second time, they retain three times as much [information],” Brooks added.

Maybe, but that's a question of the availability of the information, not branding. And why not simply 'require' students purchase any MP3 player?

The MSJ’s been an Apple addict since 2005, when it started urging students to buy Macs because “by the time you purchase photo, audio and video software for a PC, you probably will have spent more than you would if buying a comparable Apple computer”. ®

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