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Chuck Scott tablet app created by VisCom graduate student

Alex Koumas | May 23, 2012

Chuck Scott tablet app created by VisCom graduate student

Master’s project now available on iTunes

By Alex Koumas, and Erin Roberts,

ATHENS, Ohio (May 23, 2012) – A tablet application created by Christina Baird, BSVC ’06, MA ’12, on Chuck Scott, co-founder of the visual communication program at Ohio University, has been approved by Apple and is now available on iTunes for $1.99.

Baird, the daughter of School of Visual Communication Director Terry Eiler and the maternal granddaughter of Scott, created the app to commemorate Scott’s photojournalism career and his impact on the industry.

“Long before I was born he was winning awards and admiration from the photojournalism community,” Baird said. “He’s talented, opinionated and very sharp. During his career he was applauded for his creative efforts but I think he’s best known for his work in elevating the photojournalist. He was a fearless editor who pushed for better picture usage, and demanded that photographers be treated with the same respect that writers were given.”

Baird said she agonized for more than a year to come up with a good idea for her master’s project, all the while living in the “mother-in-law apartment” in her Scott’s home.

“We spent a lot of time in the garden together where he would entertain with his stories—many I’d never heard before,” she said. “As a joke I wanted to start the Chuck Scott Fan Club because I was so impressed with all that he has squeezed into his life. That idea became the basis for my master’s project.”

Baird’s project was unique in that she was the first to create a tablet application as a master’s degree project. The app details Scott’s life in pictures, text, videos and interviews. Scott, who earned acclaim as a photographer and picture editor for such newspapers as the Milwaukee Journal, the Chicago Daily News and the Chicago Tribune, won more than 100 awards over the course of his 55-year career. In 1976, Scott returned to Ohio University and helped to spearhead the visual communication program. In 1986, the School of Visual Communication was founded and named a Program of Excellence by the Ohio Board of Regents.

Julie Elman, the VisCom faculty member and chair of Baird’s graduate project committee, said Baird’s strong work ethic was key to the completion and success of the app, saying that the sheer amount of work available proved to make the project a lengthy endeavor.

“Knowing where to even begin was overwhelming,” Elman said. “The more Christina and I talked, the more she realized how ruthless she had to be as an editor. She had to make some decisions early on as to what to include in the project and what to leave out. This was tough to do, considering the amount of excellent work/teaching Chuck had accomplished over the years. Christina realized early on that making a ‘tight’ edit would be better for the project, overall.”

Baird was ecstatic to receive a call earlier this month that Apple had approved the app. For Scott and the many photographers he’s influenced through his more than five-decade career as a professional photographer and educator, his stories and images will live on in a decidedly high-tech way. Elman believes this app is special in that its content is meaningful.

“There's a lot of junk out there in the digital world,” Elman said. “Too many people treat the digital space like a dumping ground for just about anything. Way too much content can get shoveled onto a website, for example, or an app, to the point where it's overwhelming and not easy to navigate. Christina's app is well edited with the words and images, deliberately sequenced and visually engaging across the board.”

Early reception to the app has been favorable, and Baird plans to contribute sales of the app to the Charles L. Scott Scholarship at Ohio University. After more than a year and half of time spent on the project, Baird is proud to see it available on an international platform.

“The (Master’s project) process can feel slow, and I don't think my timeline is typical,” she said. “Since I was working with a platform that is fairly new, answering questions like ‘how do I share this project with my committee?’ took more time to answer. Now that it's over I'm very pleased with what I created and thrilled with the feedback I'm getting.”

To purchase or learn more about the Chuck Scott app, visit the iTunes Store.