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Ronald Yaros

Ronald Yaros

Ronald Yaros

Associate Professor

Ronald Yaros is Merrill College’s director of Ph.D. Studies, an affiliate associate professor in UMD’s College of Information Studies, a Tow-Knight Disruptive Educator for Journalism Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and an Apple Distinguished Educator.

Since 2008, his teaching and research has focused on how, when and why the next generation of news consumers seek, select and share digital information. As technology continues to rapidly change, it has become increasingly difficult for producers of online and mobile information to engage consumers who have multiple devices and unlimited sources for instant information. His emerging “Digital Cognition Model” proposes new theory and strategies to simultaneously attract and engage different types of users who have the time and interest to either seek, search or read information.

His research has appeared in two book chapters plus the International Journal of Cyber Behavior, Psychology and Learning, Communication Research, Science Communication, Health, Culture and Society, Innovative Higher Education, and the Newspaper Research Journal.

In 2020, Yaros received funding to conduct a national longitudinal survey study to measure the effects of the COVID-19 virus on media coverage, the public’s trust in government and its risk perceptions from the virus. In 2018, a $100,000 grant from the Council on the Environment awarded Yaros the opportunity to lead a team of UMD researchers from education, public health and atmospheric science in a collaboration with Prince George’s County high schools for the science journalism project

Before completing his doctorate degree, Yaros was as an Emmy Award-winning radio/TV reporter/anchor in Michigan, Wisconsin and Missouri for nearly 20 years. He then served for 10 years as president of a national educational software corporation that distributed teaching materials and software to more than 1 million middle school classrooms through 105 commercial television newsrooms.

Curriculum Vitae

Recent Publications

Yaros, Ronald A. & John Misak, (forthcoming). College Writing Assignments on Mobile Devices: Comparing Students’ Attitudes and Engagement Across Disciplines and Age, Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, 2020.

Aldoory, L., Yaros, Ronald A., Prado, A., Roberts, E., & Briones, R. L. (2016). “Piloting health text messages for rural low-income mothers: Effects of source similarity and simple action steps,” Health Promotion Practice, 15(5), 702-710.

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

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.

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

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). “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. (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.

Research Interests

I design and test new strategies to simultaneously reach different types of digital users that scan, search or read content. This requires new ways to produce information as today’s high school students become tomorrow’s news consumers. I am also interested in how non-experts process important but complex news issues about science and health. I apply the principles and theory of cognitive psychology to journalism to build my evolving “Digital Cognition Model” for more personalized, interactive and coherent content with minimal “kick-outs” (things that terminate interest in content). The model also accounts for the time a user has to consume information and his or her interest in specific topics.


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


(2019) Know Your Audience: Strategies for increasing reach and engagement of your journalism, Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas

(2018) A Tow-Knight Disruptive Educator for Journalism Innovation and Entrepreneurship

(2017) A national Apple Distinguished Educator

(2015) University Teaching, John’s Hopkins University

(2012) University of Maryland Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate General Education

(2012) University of Maryland Lilly Fellow

(2011) Designing Blended Courses & Building A Blended Community, Sloan Consortium

(2011) University of Maryland Blended Teaching Fellow

(2010) Certificate In Blended (Hybrid) Teaching and Learning Techniques, Sloan Consortium of Institutions & Organizations

(2009) Presidential Citation For Outstanding Service & Dedication, Assn for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication

(2005) Eason Award For Excellence in Communication Research, Assn 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 Communication of Science, Health, Environment & Risk Division

Association of Internet Researchers

Online News Association

International Communication Association

Courses Taught

Understanding Audiences

Quantitative Methods of Journalism Research

I-series course: Information 3.0

Mobile Journalism

B.A., University of Wisconsin
M.A., Webster University
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin

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