Pushed beyond breaking: US newsrooms use mobile alerts to define their brand

Brown, Peter D.

The aim of this research is to provide a comprehensive overview of how U.S. news outlets are using mobile push alerts to reach their audiences. Its objectives are to better understand how and why news outlets are using mobile push alerts, the decision-making process and workflows behind their use, how metrics inform strategy, and the major challenges presented by push alerts and how outlets have tackled them. The study intends to provide a detailed understanding of the use of mobile push alerts by news outlets of all sizes and backgrounds.

This research took part in two phases. The first involved a quantitative content analysis examining when and how news outlets send push alerts. For this part of the research we analyzed 2,578 push alerts—2,085 from thirty-one iOS apps and 492 from fourteen Apple News channels. These alerts were collected over the three-week period between June 19 and July 9, 2017 using an iPhone 6 running iOS 10. They were coded manually using a coding scheme devised to address our research questions. The second part of the research involved twenty-three, semi-structured interviews with audience managers, mobile editors, and product managers from a range of U.S. news outlets. These interviews focused on strategy and workflows, addressing issues such as how and why different outlets decide what to push, how and why they approach Apple News differently, their objectives for push alerts, how metrics are used to inform strategy, and major challenges that push alerts present. This report combines the findings from both phases of the research to provide a detailed overview of how U.S. newsrooms are approaching mobile push alerts.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Tow Center for Digital Journalism
Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia University
Tow Center for Digital Journalism Publications
Published Here
November 30, 2017