Saturday, April 14, 2018

Cherry Blossom featured events take center stage in Washington D.C.

Story headlines:
  • The National Cherry Blossom Festival features unique events around the nation's capital for a three week span. 
  • Newseum members experienced "In Bloom" after-hours event to celebrate the  end of the peak bloom.
  • Members enjoyed Japanese-themed food, activities and cultural opportunities throughout the night. 

The University of Maryland's Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center is rich in history and purpose for Maryland alumni

Story highlights:

  • The building is named after Samuel Riggs IV, a member of one of Maryland's most venerable families, and constructed by Hugh Newell Jacobson
  • The design of the Alumni Center with high glass windows, marble floors, and lush garden makes it popular to host special events
  • The Samuel Riggs Alumni Center is surrounded by past alumni with the Legacy Brick Campaign


Maryland students enjoy first warm spring day on campus

  • Temperatures in College Park, Maryland, reach the mid-80s on Saturday for the first time this spring.
  • University of Maryland students mix studying with sunbathing around campus.
  • The weather could cool off to the mid-50s by Wednesday.

Art and science installation on UMD campus shows bee and wasp habitats

Story Highlights:

  • An art/science installation on the University of Maryland campus illustrates solitary bee and wasp habitats
  • The installation sits within a shaded garden just off Stadium Drive
  • Wood carvings, demonstration gardens and an audio presentation teach visitors about solitary bees and wasps

University of Maryland Upgrades Sports and Housing Facilities

Cole Field House
Story Highlights:

  • The University of Maryland is upgrading Cole Field House and Dorchester Hall
  • The projects will cost over $155 million and are being funded by donations from alumni - largely Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank - and the state of Maryland
  • The facilities are expected to be operational in Fall 2018

Povich Center panel tells journalism students why now is the best time to become a journalist

Story Highlights:

  • Journalism is a way to better connect with your community and government.
  • Curiosity and passion for storytelling are important traits for future journalists.
  • The next generation of journalists will be part of a changing media landscape.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Customizing Push Alerts One Important Factor in Maintaining Engagement for Mobile Users, According to Digital Media Experts

by Golshan Jalali

Story highlights:
  • Two digital media experts participated in a panel titled "Alerts: Don't Push Your Audience Away" at a conference hosted by Online News Association to share best practices for engaging mobile users on apps. 
  • Media organizations are utilizing app alert push notifications to extend their brand and draw in readers. 
  • Customization and personalization are key factors to maintain engagement with users. 

Online News Association holds a conference to discuss what works and what doesn't work for app alerts

Story highlights:

  • More people are receiving their information via apps instead of web browsers by enabling push notifications for apps they download
  • News organizations are moving towards preferences for their consumers and have made it easy to modify alerts to suit their interests
  • Consumers have shown a displeasure when it comes to alerts that tease in order to get them to click the link

Online News Association conference gives insight into better app alert practice


Story Highlights:

  • News consumers often see mobile app push alerts as engaging content or brief headline due to more mobile usage. 
  • Media organizations are working to keep interest with audience by customizing app alerts to personal preference. 
  • Better practices in using push notifications will allows for consumers to be more engaged with app use.

Social Media Experts Speak at Phillip Merill's Online News Association Conference

L-R: Etan Horowitz and Alyssa Meritt
The Phillip Merill College of Journalism hosted two experts in multimedia for the online News Association Conference. Maryland alumnus Etan Horowitz is now Senior Mobile Editor at CNN. Alyssa Meritt is the Head of Strategic Consulting at Urban Airship.

  • 70% of users abandon an app in as little as a month, demonstrating the necessity of good content
  • It's important to allow users to easily opt in or out of push alerts to better personalize their social media experience
  • New technology such as the Apple watch is shortening engagement time

App alerts are latest way for news organizations to engage mobile readers

Story Highlights:


  • News organizations are using app alerts to extend their brand and engage with mobile readers.
  • Customizability and personalization are important features to readers when signing up for app alerts.
  • App alerts require unique, tailored content and editing.

Quick reads, custom content key to engaging readers of news alerts, experts say

Story Highlights:
  • Online News Association panelists in London focus on mobile apps
  • Customization key to engagement by readers of news alerts
  • Smart watch owners spend as little as three seconds reading alerts

Personalization is key to success for push alerts, say panel experts

Story Highlights:
·      Users who can customize alerts are more likely to keep using them
·      Android devices are more customizable than iOS for push alert personalization
·      Click-through metrics are not the only measure of success for push alerts

Etan Horowitz, Senior Mobile Editor, CNN and Alyssa Meritt, Head of Strategic Consulting, Urban Airship at the 2016 Online News Association conference in London
Push alerts were the focus of discussion for CNN’s Senior Mobile Editor Etan Horowitz and Alyssa Meritt, head of strategic consulting for Urban Airship, as featured panelists at the annual Online News Association Conference in London on April 1, 2016.

One major theme they discussed relating to mobile device push alerts was personalization. Horowitz says, “Always have an easy way for people to opt in, opt out, customize and change.”

He notes that Android devices are more capable of personalization, and points to the inclusion of specific sports team logos within push alerts as one area where Android shines. “iOS is a bigger audience but the engagement on Android is a lot higher, and the thought is, it’s because of some of these features.”
Panelists discuss the importance of push alert personalization, including the New York Times' screen with a bell symbol that allows users to select or deselect notifications.
Meritt talks about the New York Times app. Its little bell-shaped symbol at the top right side of the screen, which can be switched on or off, is a way to note behavioral preference. “What kind of content would you want to push out to me?” She says news organizations are following practices used in retail, “where we’re pairing behavior as well as consumer preference.” 

An example of this, she says, is someone who claims to prefer business news, but actually clicks on more entertainment stories. A news organization would likely send push alerts to that user relating to both business and entertainment news, following their stated preferences and also their actual habits of engagement.
Online News Association conference attendees were engaged with their computers and mobile devices during the panel on push alerts.
Horowitz points to a specific, important customization for sports news apps: the “spoiler alert.” This allows users to switch on or off alerts specifically relating to a team, or a game, to avoid learning final scores or other vital statistics before they’ve had a chance to watch the event itself.

“It’s important when you load the app, to have it be something that people can modify easily when they want,” Horowitz says.

Geographic location and user context are other important factors when considering the message length, content and frequency of push alerts, the panelists say.

Horowitz also brings up the complexity of measuring effectiveness of push alerts. The rate of click-through from push notification to app is measured, but he says, “I think it’s important that we don’t think of click-through as the only metric.”

He says, “How do you capture somebody that gets an alert that looks at it and says, ‘hey, thanks BBC’ or ‘thanks CNN.’ They didn’t click and give you that metric, but they’re being satisfied by something you offer.”

Horowitz says, “It’s not all about the click, and in fact, I like where I see examples of a well-written alert that does the job.”

Saturday, February 24, 2018

26th Medical Cannabis Dispensary Opens in Maryland to Sell Legal Marijuana to Those Who Suffer from Chronic Pain


Story Highlights:
  • Anne Arundel County's first medical cannabis dispensary opens in Linthicum, Maryland.
  • Owners say it took three years to comply with county rules and restrictions.
  • Anne Arundel Community College to offer associate degree in business of marijuana.

Organization Wins in Court Against Trump Over Travel Ban 3.0

by Golshan Jalali

Story highlights:
  • Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB), a nonprofit organization, is one of the leading prosecutors in a lawsuit against the Trump Administration's latest travel ban ordering placing travel restrictions on eight countries. 
  • IAAB v. Trump was successful in an injunction court hearing in October 2017. 
  • The legal battle against Travel ban 3.0 continues, with IAAB succeeding in the Fourth Circuit court in February 2018 after the Supreme Court allowed the ban to take effect in December 2017.