Congress is debating whether journalists should be subsidized. But hey, did anyone know that we're already coddling J-school students by letting them take federal loans for iPhones?

The Missouri University School of Journalism is making an iPod Touch or iPhone required equipment for incoming students. This has students who are PCs up in arms; one student, Elizabeth Eberlin, has started a Facebook group, her generation's ultimate gesture of pointless, passive-aggressive protest, to complain about the move.

But it's okay, say school officials, because "required" actually means "optional." Brian Brooks, an associate dean at the J-school, explained to the Missourian, "If it's required, it can be included in your financial need estimate. If we had not required it, they wouldn't be able to do that." The whole point of the iPhone requirement is to let students listen to recorded lectures, and Brooks admits they only need a laptop to do that.

So basically, this is a scam to let students take out federally subsidized loans to buy iPhones. Presumably they can put AT&T's minimum $69/mo. subscription on credit, too, and pay it off after graduation. We applaud this. Because if there's anything journalism needs, it's students who value gadgetry, theory, and massive student-loan payments over, say, reporting.