Student Competition winners

By Mike McKean on May 5, 2009 0 Comments Experiments
RJI iPhone Student Competition winners, Team NearBuy, present their application
RJI iPhone Student Competition winners, Team NearBuy, present their application on May 5, 2009.

The winner of the RJI iPhone Student Competition is NearBuy. The NearBuy Team is Anthony Brown, Zhenhua Ma, Dan Wang, Peng Zhuang. NearBuy is a real estate app that shows you real estate listings as pins on a map. It makes locating prospective homes a snap. Get directions to a listing, or call the real estate agent in just two taps. Give up on classified ads that make you guess where you're going - get NearBuy.

NearBuy team members recieved a free trip to the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2009 June 8-12 in San Francisco.

App Store

Download the App

Team Newsflash wins the People's Choice Award
AdVerse Network member, Danny Beard (left) applauds Brian Grinstead (right), of Team Newsflash winning People's Choice Award

Team Newsflash won the People's Choice award. The The Newsflash Team is Chris Stein, Kevin Karsch, Mary Beth Bergsieker, Brian Grinstead. Newsflash's benefits: Want someone to bring your news to you? NewsFlash does just that - collecting the news that you want along with utilizing the spatial technology of the iPhone to bring you local news from your area.

Newsflash team members get to keep their Apple iPhones.

App Store

Download the App

Reynolds Journalism Institute announces winner for iPhone contest

The winning team, NearBuy, developed a real estate program.

By Evan Spaulding

Published in the Maneater May 8, 2009

The Maneater screen shot of article.
The Maneater screen shot of article.

Students developed, tested and marketed their own iPhone applications for the Reynolds Journalism Institute's iPhone Student Contest, which began in September and ended Tuesday when the winning student teams were revealed.

Seventy students started the competition on Sept. 8 at an informational session, according to the RJI Web site.

The judges of the competition included Ben Kruse, the Director of Higher Education Mobility at AT&T, and Mike Bombich, a Systems Engineer at Apple Inc.

The contest participants were given a blank slate for the application design. Judges narrowed down the field of competitors to four finalists. These finalists were then judged by both the panel and by online voters at the contest Web site.

The winning application, NearBuy, was created by senior Anthony Brown, graduate student Zhenhua Ma, graduate student Dan Wang and graduate student Peng Zhuang. The NearBuy application is a real estate program that provides information on real estate listings and maps their locations using the GPS feature of the iPhone.

"First we did some research of similar real estate applications and thought about what we did and didn't like about them," Ma said. "The most unique thing about our application, I think, is that you can freely move around on our map."

Ma said NearBuy's other features were innovative and user-friendly.

"We have a filter where you can narrow down houses you're looking at by the number of bedrooms and bathrooms," Ma said. "We also included a lot of information about the surrounding neighborhood of the house a user would be looking at."

The NearBuy team will attend Apple's 2009 Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco.

The NewsFlash application won the people's choice award. The application allows users to create their own digital newspaper by choosing the subjects they'd like to include.

"One important difference between our application and similar applications is that you can make your own queries, as to the types of news you want," said Kevin Karsch, one of the NewsFlash team members. "If our team didn't consist of people from different colleges, our application wouldn't have been nearly as interesting as it ended up being."

The application utilizes the iPhone's GPS feature to collect news stories from the user's geographical location.

RJI also hosted a discussion panel titled "Journalism: Building New Tools, New Business Models and New Jobs" on Wednesday, in conjunction with the iPhone competition. The discussion topics included the contest and the larger implications of having such innovative projects on campus.

"The students in this room are in a better position to transform the media business than when I graduated before the Internet," said Jim Spencer, the CEO of, an online video news site. "It's a great time to take risks."

UM system President Gary Forsee, who moderated the discussion, said future opportunities are technology driven and that students should "take advantage of technology and growth-oriented" business endeavors

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