NJ Mobile News Lab partners with Push App to bring mobile apps to local newsrooms

Five partners of the Center for Cooperative Media will be given a custom mobile app for their publications

The Center for Cooperative Media is teaming up with Push App to bring mobile apps to five local newsrooms in New Jersey. The partnership is part of the ongoing NJ Mobile News Lab project, which aims to support mobile innovation in local news.

We recently announced the winners of our three $5,000 mobile grants, which will help fund original mobile news experiments by local publishers in the state. The partnership with Push App, on the other hand, presents an opportunity to conduct a more controlled experiment using the same mobile app with five different publications in the state.

Push App was developed by Christopher Guess during a two-year ICFJ Knight fellowship. (The Center for Cooperative Media and the NJ Mobile News Lab are also funded by the Knight Foundation.) The app is entirely open source and works on both Android and iOS. You can find the code on GitHub.

A selection of publications and news outlets using Push.

Push is already being used by several publications in Europe, including the consortium of 24 non-profit investigative outlets known as the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).

In an article for IJNet, Guess describes Push as a “mobile app for news agencies and publications who don’t have the time, money or resources to build their own custom code base.” Guess says he wanted to bring more variety to news apps, and Push certainly checks all the boxed when it comes to the variety of features it offers.

Push allows users to read stories, watch videos, share to social media, and comb through archived articles. It also lets readers access content on the go, even when they don’t have access to the Internet.

But the feature that we’ll be paying the most attention to is the eponymous push notification function, which allows publishers to deliver stories directly into the hands of readers.

“The big impact feature for the app,” Guess explains, “is the ability to use push notifications that put a new story right on users’ lock screens, even if they haven’t opened the app in weeks. This allows those publications who may not have new, or the most exciting content every day, to easily pull readers in and highlight the best they produce.”

Data from each of the five NJ publishers that receive a customized version of Push will be collected and delivered to our research partner at Rutgers University, Matt Weber, for analysis and eventual publication in a forthcoming study on the use of mobile technology in local newsrooms.

If you are interested in learning more about our ongoing mobile lab experiments or the NJ Mobile News Lab more generally, you can follow this publication on Medium and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.


Joe Amditis is the associate director of the Center for Cooperative Media. Contact him at amditisj@mail.montclair.edu.

About the Center for Cooperative Media: The Center is a grant-funded program of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University. The Center is supported with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and Democracy Fund. Its mission is to grow and strengthen local journalism, and in doing so serve New Jersey residents. For more information, visit CenterforCooperativeMedia.org.