For the past few months, 50 students and faculty at the University of Kentucky’s Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce have been participating in a trial to assess the viability of Apple’s iPad as a tool to support them in their graduate program.

Among the hardware and software products the students are evaluating is the PressReader iPad app ( from NewspaperDirect. PressReader gives students and faculty members instant access to more than 1,800 full-content digital replicas of newspapers and magazines from 94 countries, often before they hit the newsstands in their local markets.

Over the next few weeks, the students will fan out to various countries (including Belgium, Cambodia, China, Ethiopia, France, Macedonia, Nicaragua, Rwanda, South Africa and Switzerland) to embark on summer internships that will challenge them to apply and hone the skill of statecraft. First, though, they must immerse themselves in the politics, culture and worldview of the countries that will be hosting them.

In a world where 24-hour news blogs and websites provide a continuous deluge of disparate news stories of questionable value, local newspapers from foreign countries play an important role for these budding diplomats. Through PressReader on iPad, these publications, presented as complete, digital replicas of the printed editions, are emerging as essential information sources that enable the students to take a pulse of the region they will be visiting, and gain insight into local issues, events, and politics, according to retired Ambassador and Patterson School Director Carey Cavanaugh.