Stop using push notifications for breaking news

Joe Amditis
Dec 18, 2017 · 5 min read

That’s what the folks at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism and the Guardian U.S. Mobile Lab are saying. Pete Brown and his collaborators studied several weeks of push notifications from 31 iOS apps and 14 Apple News channels over the summer. They also interviewed 23 product managers, mobile editors, and audience managers from a range of news publications across the United States.

What they found was a “balloon over the past year in the number of alerts sent by news organizations on a daily basis.” Brown says the thinking behind news notification strategies is changing.

Instead of pushing out countless breaking news notifications over the course of the day — many of which often closely resemble or mirror the notifications your users get from other news apps — Brown’s research suggests that you should use your notifications to separate yourself and your publication from the rest of the pack. Use them to construct a more complete picture of your publication’s voice, and use them to foster a better, more intimate relationship with your users and your community.

Read more about push notifications:

The age of mass-message marketing is almost upon us — are you ready?

Facebook has developed and started testing its new “Messenger Broadcast” interface, which will allow businesses to send marketing messages to Facebook users. At this point, it’s only a matter of time before everyone’s phones are buzzing and beeping with notifications about new messages from our favorite brands and publishers. From a practical standpoint, this makes a lot of sense and has plenty of useful applications. From an historical standpoint, however, this comes with plenty of opportunities for overuse and abuse.

Facebook’s vice president, David Marcus, said in an announcement last month that, “Of course, people using Messenger shouldn’t worry about getting spammed, because the starting principles still remain: businesses can’t send a sponsored message to threads that weren’t previously opened by their customers or prospects, and users have full control to block messages or people/businesses they no longer want to hear from.”

Whether you’re excited about this new Facebook program or skeptical, it’s important to be aware of how this might affect your publication. Here’s a list of links with more information:

Voice assistants could have a big impact on local news — in more ways than one

As Michael Boland noted in a piece for StreetFight back in October, at least 20 percent of mobile searches are conducted via voice, and speech-to-text conversion is only getting better by the day. That means it’s increasingly important for publishers and news providers to get in on the action before it’s too late. This is especially true at the local level, where publishers are often the last to adopt new and emerging technologies or trends.

But that doesn’t mean everyone should necessarily just dive in and spend all of your time trying to figure out how to make an Alexa skill — even though it’s now easier than ever to make one. In part two of his series on voice assistants for local news, Boland delves into the process for choosing the voice platform that works best for you and your users.

That being said, here’s a list of links for those of you who have already done the research and want to get a jump on the coming voice assistant frenzy:

A ‘hack day’ project from The Atlantic: Great journalism in every new browser tab

Finally, this is a really simple but cool idea from The Atlantic’s Product team. They created a Chrome and Firefox browser extension that automatically displays a different piece of journalism from The Atlantic every time you open a new tab. I just thought this was really near, and I’d love to see this kind of thing adopted by a network of local news publishers or a group of partners on a collaborative reporting project.

Read the full story on Medium.

Chart of the month:

Source: Rani Molla, “Video will make up 75 percent of mobile traffic in five years,” (Dec. 2, 2017), available at:

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The Center for Cooperative Media will curate information about our efforts and the work of our grantees, along with relevant industry trends via this monthly newsletter, the contents of which will also be published on the NJ Mobile News Lab blog.

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