From Yahoo News:
A new study from the International Center for Media and Public Agenda, looking at 19 top news sites, released today concludes that RSS feeds work very poorly for anyone who uses news for more than infotainment.
This is interesting because while these major news sources have plenty of readers, they are not taking full advantage of technology like RSS (or really simple syndication), a way of syndicating content that allows an individual to subscribe to a particular section or blog and read new posts/articles in a feed reader, also known as an aggregator. By using RSS instead of pointing your browser at each individual website or page, the news comes to you. Clearly, it is a very efficient method of staying informed on all sorts of topics.
The problem that the aforementioned sites are having with RSS? They don’t want to deliver all their content with feeds – they want readers to visit their actual site. Why? Well, according to the Yahoo article,
“One reason may be that such stories, such as those by AP or Reuters, don’t carry the ‘brand’ of the news organization. But without those stories, many RSS feeds are not truly delivering news 24/7 and, in addition, lack the breadth of news their home sites deliver.”
Why is this such a problem? Because an increasing number of people are using RSS to keep themselves updated on news ranging from local happenings to international events; in addition, without going to the actual website that is the source of the feed (and really, part of the point of using an aggregator is that you don’t have to go a bunch of different places for your info), RSS users are not even aware that they may not be getting the whole picture.
So what could be a possible solution to this problem? Should news outlets have to (and/or other websites) publish all their content with RSS whether they want to or not? If so, how could that be enforced, if it is possible at all? Should there be some kind of standardized system, and again, is that even possible on the web? Do we want such a system anyways, or should people just have to sift through the various news sources and locate the feeds that best suit their purposes? How does this relate to smaller news outlets or community sites, or bloggers, photographers, and videographers who function as citizen journalists?
Of course, if you have an idea or a website that purports to solve the problems that traditional media have with publishing their content with RSS, especially if it has to do with a specific community and how they receive their news, you should check out the Knight News Challenge. It may be possible to implement your plan sooner than you think.