Asociate Professor Ronald Yaros.

Associate Professor

College/University: B.A. University of Wisconsin; M.A. Webster University; Ph.D. University of Wisconsin

301-405-2425 2100M Knight

Ronald Yaros, Merrill’s Director of Ph.D. Studies, researches the cognitive aspects of how to produce the most engaging multimedia and how news consumers seek, select, and share that information online and on mobile device. His theoretical P-I-C-K model for personalization and interactivity posits that while technologies and user behaviors continue to evolve, our brains still have limited capacities as we read or view content.

His work can be found in two book chapters, Science Communication, Communication Research, Science Communication, the International Journal of Cyber Behavior Psychology, and Learning, and at Yaros lead a team of researchers that collaborated with high schools to develop

Dr. Yaros has 20 years of experience as a radio/TV reporter/anchor and 20 years as a researcher. In 2017, he was named an Apple Distinguished Educator and inducted into the first cohort of the Tow-Knight “Disruptive Educators Network for Journalism Innovation and Entrepreneurship.”

Photo: Merrill College

Curriculum Vitae

Recent Publications

Yaros, Ronald A., Roberts, Jessica, Powers, Elia, and Steiner, Linda. “Serving the Health Needs of the Latina Community.” Published in Health, Culture & Society, summer 2015.

Yaros, Ronald A., Powers, Elia, Oh, Soo-Kwang (2014). “Reporting a New Cancer Risk:  Analyzing Online Coverage of the World Health Organization’s Announcement About Possible  Dangers from Cell Phones.” Newspaper Research Journal.

Powers, Elia  & Yaros, Ronald A. (2013). “Cultivating Support for Nonprofit News Organizations: Commitment, Trust and Donating Audiences,”  Journal of Communication Management, 17 (2), 157-170.

Yaros, Ronald A. (2012). “Effects of Mobile Devices and Text Messages: A Multi-Study Design to Explore a Model for Mobile Learning in Introductory Journalism,” International Journal of Cyber Behavior, Psychology and Learning, 2(3), 50-72

Yaros, Ronald A. (2012). “Social Media And Education: Do Personalization And Interactivity Facilitate Learning?”  In H.S. Noor Al-Deen, J.A. Hendricks (Eds.)  Social Media: Usage And Impact, Lexington Books

Powers, Elia & Yaros, Ronald A (2012). “Supporting Online Nonprofit News Organizations:  Do Financial Contributions Influence Stakeholder Expectations and Engagement?” Journal of Media Business Studies 9(3), pp. 41-62.

Yaros, Ronald A. & Cook, Anne  (2011). “Attention Versus Learning of Online Content: Preliminary Findings From An Eye-Tracking Study,” International Journal of Cyber Behavior, Psychology & Learning

Yaros, Ronald A. (2011). “Effects Of Text And Hypertext Structures On User interest And Understanding Of Science And Technology,”  Science Communication, 33 (3), pp. 275-308.

Crone, W., Dunwoody, S., Rediske, R., Ackerman, S., Zenner-Peterson, G. & Yaros, Ronald A., (2011) “Informal Science Education: A Practicum for Graduate Students,” Innovative Higher Education, 36 (5).

Yaros, Ronald A. (2009).  “Digital Natives: Following Their Lead on a Path to a New Journalism,” Nieman Reports, Winter 2009 Edition: Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

Yaros, Ronald A. (2009). “Mastering Multimedia.” American Journalism Review, August/September 2009.

Yaros, Ronald A. (2009). “Producing Citizen Journalism or Producing Journalism for Citizens:  A New Multimedia Model To Enhance Understanding of Complex News.” In Z. Papacharissi (Ed.)  In Journalism and Citizenship: New Agenda, (pp. 71-90). New York, NY: Routledge.

Yaros, Ronald A. (2008). “Communicating Complex News Online, How Users Process Information About Science, Health, and Technology.”  Saarbrucken, Germany: VDM Publishing.

Yaros, Ronald A. (2006). “Is it the Medium or the Message? Structuring  Complex News To Enhance Engagement and Situational Understanding By Non-Experts”. Communication Research, 33 (4), pp. 285-309.

Nelson, Michelle R., Ronald A. Yaros, and Heejo Keum, (2006).  “Examining The Influence of Telepresence on Spectator and Player Processing of Real and Fictitious Brands in a Computer Game.” Journal of Advertising, 35 (4) Winter 2006, pp. 87-99.

Wood, Michelle, Michelle R. Nelson, Jaeho Cho, and Ronald A. Yaros (2004). “Tonight’s Top Story: Commercial Content in Television News.” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 81 (4), pp. 807-822.

Research Interests

I design and test new structures for multiplatform journalism, especially mobile devices. This includes “packaging” digital information in ways that address the emerging behaviors of younger users as they interact with content. I am also interested in how non-experts process important but complex news issues about science and health. I apply cognitive psychology to journalism to build my evolving P-I-C-K model. This model specifies the simultaneous combination of four elements for multimedia that is:  1. personalized, 2. interactive, and 3. coherent with minimal 4. “kick-outs” (or things that terminate interest in content). My research is conducted in a controlled lab, online, and in my classes that “blend” technology with face-to-face meetings.  My annual research of each year’s freshman class suggests that user behavior continues to rapidly change with newer technology and that we should be prepared for more significant change in the next 2-4 years. What we practice today as digital communicators is not necessarily valid for tomorrow’s users.


Digital storytelling structures
Mobile journalism techniques
Info Graphics
Reporting/anchoring for television and radio
Science and health journalism
Research methods (Quantitative and Qualitative)
Blended teaching and learning with technology
Teaching and learning with mobile devices


(2017) Apple Distinguished Educator
“As an ADE, you’ll be an author, advisor, ambassador, and advocate of what’s possible when we bring new technology to teaching and learning. You’ll have the opportunity to collaborate with over 2,500 colleagues around the globe and turn fresh, new ideas into education realities.”

(2012) University of Maryland Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate General Education
One of two-campus wide student-nominated awards recognized by the Associate Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Studies

(2012) University of Maryland Lilly Fellow
Collaboration within an interdisciplinary team of faculty to address development of “Scholarship in Practice” courses

(2011-12) University of Maryland Blended Teaching Fellow
Awarded in a campus-wide competition for funding of a new blended course with mobile devices

(2010) Certificate In Blended (Hybrid) Teaching and Learning Techniques
Sloan Consortium of Institutions & Organizations Committee to Quality Education Online

(2009) AEJMC Presidential Citation For Outstanding Service & Dedication
Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication(2005) Eason Award For Excellence in Communication Research
Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication

(1986) Emmy Award
National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

(1985) Emmy Award
National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

(1983) Emmy Award
National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences


Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication (AEJMC)
AEJMC’s Science Communication Interest Group
Association of Internet Researchers
Online News Association
International Communication Association
National Communication Association

Courses Taught

JOUR150 New “blended” version of Intro to Mass Communication
JOUR289i I-series course: Information 3.0: Exploring Technologies
JOUR479Q Understanding Online News Audiences
JOUR689M Mobile Journalism
JOUR689R Special Topics: New Media Research Methods
JOUR803 Doctoral Seminar
JOUR352 Online Journalism
JOUR361 Television Reporting and Production