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Memo

Date:
To:
From:
Subject:

February 22, 2016
The Paisano Independent Student Newspaper
Daniel Earles
Progress Report for Paisano App

Purpose
This is a progress report for the Paisano smartphone app research and development
project.
Introduction
One of the reasons why The Paisano campus newspaper is so unique is because it is the
only independent campus newspaper in the entire state if Texas- and one of only about a
dozen in the nation. That means that UTSA does not contribute any budget or faculty
towards the paper, and the entire paper is almost exclusively run and developed by
college students, all done without pay and completely voluntarily.
However, in an increasingly technology-driven world, it seems logical that the next step
for The Paisano would be to develop a smartphone app. When we first asked the
company that designs our websites for an estimate of how much a smartphone app would
cost, they gave us a number around $20,000, which is well beyond the budget of our
operation. Because we are a non-profit, our revenue almost exclusively comes from
advertisements and donations to the paper.
The idea came to me that if we had students who were willing to run a full-fledged
newspaper every week out of passion instead of pay, then surely there are students who
would feel that same type of passion for app development. Through the Advanced
Software Engineering course on campus, we will have students help The Paisano in
creation of the app. The other part of this project comes surveys and interviews with
students and Paisano staff in determining what kind of app they would want to see
developed, as well as truly determining whether a smartphone app would be worth it in
the long run.
Summary

Respondents (Out of 100)

Would Try Paisano App (62%)

38%

Would Not Try Paisano App
(38%)
62%

Regularly Read the Paisano (9%)
Regularly Do Not Read the
Paisano (89%)

9%

91%

On February 13, 2016 I received results from a campus survey detailing the interest for a
Paisano app, and what current interest was there for the paper and website. While current
interest in the paper and website showed to be a disappointing low, a majority of
respondents agreed that they would at least try a Paisano app if one was ever to be
developed.
I have made contact with Dr. Robinson, the Advanced Software Engineering professor on
campus, and he has agreed to have some of his students work on developing this app as
part of their project.
The full study and the official design document for the app should be completed by
March 1st, 2016.
Progress So Far
In this progress report, I present my completed work on Tasks 1-2 and discuss my future work,
Tasks 3-5.
Completed Work
Task 1: Survey students about wanting an app

As was to be expected, less than 10% of the students surveyed say they
consistently read the current Paisano newspaper, and less than 5% went to the
website. However, when asked whether students would be interested in reading
campus news from an app, over 60% responded that they would.. This leads to the
conclusion that developing an app for the Paisano campus newspaper would be a
worthy investment for increasing readership.
Task 2: Begin plans for production
After several conversations with Dr. Robsinon, the Advanced Software
Engineering course instructor at UTSA, we’ve outlined a timeline between now
and next year for the development cycle of the Paisano app, with development
process being done by students within his program
Future Work
Task 3: Interview Students about App Features
Personal interviews must be conducted with students in order to find information
on what kind of features students would like to see from a Paisano app. These
interviews would take approximately 5 minutes each, with a total of 20
respondents.
Task 4: Interview Paisano Staff
The Paisano staff will also have their own ideas about new content ideas for the
Paisano app besides the content that is already produced weekly for the
newspaper and website. It would be important to get their insight on what they
want to see in this app.
Task 5: Develop design map
Dr. Robinson has asked for a basic design map for the engineering team to follow.
This design will be the result of several meetings with the Paisano Staff
Recommendation/Conclusion
I have successfully completed tasks 1-2 and the remaining tasks should be finished by March 1,
2016. The surveys have indicated that an app for the Paisano would be excellent investment. It
would not only help increase readership, but it would also give real-world experience for the
software engineering students on campus. If my research is correct, we would also be the world’s
only campus newspaper with a student-developed app, which would be an unprecedented
achievement for the university.