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March 09 2010

09:36

RSS feeds, advertising and selling attention

Media organisations who only offer partial RSS feeds might be interested to look at a couple of posts from 2 websites with different experiences of monetising their feeds. First, Jason Snell of MacWorld:

“RSS doesn’t generate revenue directly. There are ads in RSS, sure, but they’re cheap and lousy and don’t have remotely the return as ads on web pages.”

Then, John Gruber of Daring Fireball (cached here if you find it as slow as I do):

“The ads in most sponsored RSS feeds are indeed cheap and lousy. The ads in DF’s [Daring Fireball's] RSS feed are neither. They’re priced at a premium, and have attracted (if I do say so myself) premium sponsors.

“If you’ve got a model where revenue is tied only to web page views, switching to full-content RSS feeds will hurt, at least in the short term. The problem, I say, isn’t with full-content RSS feeds, but rather with a business model that hinges solely on web page views. The precious commodity that we, as publishers, have to offer advertisers is the attention of our readers. Web page views are a terribly inaccurate, if not outright misleading, metric for attention. Subscribers to a full-content RSS feed are among the readers paying the most attention, but generate among the least web page views.”

Snell’s response: “What works for [Gruber's one-man] kind of site doesn’t necessarily work for our kind.”

It’s also worth noting the tertiary benefits of full RSS feeds. Offering full RSS feeds makes it more likely a developer is going to create something useful out of it (expensive development time for free), bringing more readers and attention to your advertising or, in the case of the BBC (which may have licensing issues holding it back), fulfilling its public service remit.

Do you or your organisation do anything interesting with your RSS feeds? Are they full or partial? I’d love to know.

(Note, OJB uses the <more> tag to to ensure the homepage isn’t dominated by a single post. Unfortunately, this results in partial RSS feeds. Some day I’ll sort this.)

February 23 2010

13:17

Spot.us unveils changes: Donate your time, follow updates

The crowdfunded journalism site Spot.us unveiled changes to the site today based on feedback from its users and writers. Users can now easily follow updates on a reporter’s pitch and donate their time or expertise to a story, instead of just their money.

The basic premise of Spot.us stays the same: Writers post a story pitch they’d like funding to cover. Site users can make small donations (many of which add up to cover big endeavors, like a $10,000 trip to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch). The new bells and whistles enhance this core functionality.

One improvement allows users to track a story from start to finish (rather than from pitch to then just finished product). Users can easily subscribe to blog post-style updates via email or RSS, or check them on the site.

“We’ve had that feature for a little bit now, but it’s kind of been overlooked because it’s buried within the pitches,” the site’s founder David Cohn told me yesterday.

The more prominent feature could also open new forms of storytelling on the site, including the possibility of daily news, or beat coverage. Reporters are free to use the tool however they wish. “When we publish a finished story, some of them have five to 15 blog posts which are just as, if not more interesting, than the finished story. So that’s why we wanted to find a way to feature those on the front page.”

Users can also donate their time and talents. Writers had told Spot.us that sometimes they need help with mundane reporting work, like scanning documents. Many reporters want help with photos. The idea was to allow writers to “make an open call for help on specific tasks.” It’s crowdsourcing, but on an individual basis.

“Now people can come together around developing a project,” Cohn told me. “[Spot.us is] really still trying to get reporters and contributors on an equal playing field.”

Cohn and I talked about how talent could also mean access. Need a photo from New Zealand for your piece? Just ask. (Proof of concept: I once needed some photos of Alaska’s Kenai River, an improbable task for a blogger stuck in Washington, D.C. Luckily, a loyal Talking Points Memo reader gladly helped me out.)

Cohn also noted that Spot.us has created a new embedable widget that can promote an individual pitch. He hopes to one day make donations possible within the widget itself.

“Releasing this stuff, it’s the start of a new phase for development.”

12:00

Spot.Us Adds Assignments, Widgets, Story Updates in Revamp

Since Spot.Us first launched in late 2008 as a simple wiki, I've wanted this to be a learning and growing endeavor both for myself and for  journalism as a whole.

There are so many lessons in starting a non-profit news project, especially one that is unique in its scope and mission like Spot.Us. I hope to share some insight below, but first the news.

spotus.png

Today Spot.Us takes a huge step forward with a new design and new features. This was made possible by lead designer Lauren Rabaino and the excellent development team of Erik Sundelof and Dan Newman. Please join me and Anh Do, managing editor of the Los Angeles branch, in thanking this team.

The new interface will continue to be tweaked, but it is already much more appealing and user friendly than our old design. I dare not call it "Spot.Us 2.0" just yet. There are two major new features planned before we hit that mark. This is Spot.Us 1.9.

New Features


Suggest a city: It's time to start looking beyond the Bay Area and Los Angeles. That's right -- expansion is a priority. Spot.Us is a tool or platform, not a news organization. With that in mind, we are looking to expand where we know people are interested in using the site. Would you intend on using it if it was available in your area? If so, suggest your city!

Assignments: This is a feature I am very excited about. In some respects it transitions Spot.Us out of "community funded reporting" and into "community powered reporting." It's a subtle but important distinction. Every reporter now has the option of creating "assignments" that are limited only by their imagination. A reporter could crowdsource a collection of photos, distribute the workload required for reviewing documents, etc. The reporter has control over who can and cannot contribute to an assignment, and how assignments exist, if at all, in relation to their pitch. This is an optional feature for anyone that wants to build a movement around their reporting efforts.

Widgets, Facebook, Twitter, Oh My!: Yes, it's been a long time coming. I admit we haven't been moving fast enough in this space. But we are making up for it ASAP! We aren't breaking ground here, but considering that we are playing in the new media space, it's a crime that we haven't had these features.

More on Widgets: This is a deceptively forward-looking feature. Our hope is that soon people will be able to donate through a widget without ever having to leave the site where the widget is placed. This could also pave the way for an API (which is much further out, but is along this train of thought). For now, widgets will be built into a "Spot.Us Lite" that can be hosted on your website by just copying and pasting some code. (This is coming soon.)

Story updates: We've had blog posts associated with every pitch, but the vast majority of blog posts have been overlooked. Now we are highlighting the latest story updates on the front page, and will encourage reporters to show the process of their reporting.

RSS: We now have an RSS feed for...everything: Latest stories, newest pitches, blog posts, even the most recent contributions -- and they can all be filtered by networks. Only interested in Los Angeles news? Go into the LA network and all the RSS feeds will be relevant to you.

Spot.Us Channels: The first channel we're creating is "Spot Us Picks." But in the future, channels, or filtered menus of pitches, can be created around topics (the health channel) general types of organizations (the public media channel) or specific partnering organizations (The Bay Area News Project channel).

There are also a few more minor features and tweaks. For example, we are finally able to better highlight our successful partnerships, our community advisory boards, and more.

General Lessons, Observations

I've learned more during this process than I can truly reflect on in a single blog post. But I have always seen winning the Knight News Challenge as a great privilege that has afforded me the luxury (and responsibility) to publicly expound on how Spot.Us is going, and what I'm learning along the way.

Many of those lessons are in past blog posts around being iterative, the things you must weigh in website development and collaboration. As of right now, these are some of the best lessons I've been able to articulate. I hope to share more as I continue.

How Is Spot.Us Doing?

I never know how to answer this question. No matter how many times I say it won't, some people still expect Spot.Us and crowdfunding to somehow replace the gobs of money that has been lost from traditional advertising.

Here's what I usually say: "Considering all the things that could have gone wrong, we are doing amazing!"

And that is true.

Now in our second year of an initial grant from the Knight Foundation, I am proud to say that with micro-donations and other foundation grants, we have almost raised a third of the amount of money given to us in that first grant. Which is to say: In another two years, we could be a net positive to the cash flow of working journalists. That, of course, assumes nothing changes.

This design represents a shift from the proof-of-concept stage to the expansion stage. Indeed, I'm talking to (and want to talk to more) folks around the country who want to use Spot.Us in their area. My hope is we can continue to funnel more money into the pockets of journalists who are reporting on important civic topics.

However, if people expect Spot.Us to replace major metro papers, then we are in trouble. As I often say, there is no such thing as a silver bullet. Spot.Us is a new, growing revenue stream. It is not meant to be as big of a revenue stream as classifieds were 20 years ago; but it is a revenue stream that requires little effort (just create a pitch and embed a widget), and an option that can be combined with a multitude of other streams

We continue to be a platform -- a growing platform. This year is a make or break moment. At the end of 2010, Spot.Us could be a beautiful failure in that we can report back to the larger journalism community what we know, what we learned and how we think others could build off that. Or we will keep going -- the little startup non-profit that could ;)

I've always been an underdog, a nice guy that didn't buckle to authority. With that in mind, I have every intention of breaking through every barrier I see in front of Spot.Us. I hope you'll join me!

08:39

What do your RSS feeds say about you?

Ben Harrow, a student in my undergraduate online journalism classes, has written a blog post about the environmental news RSS feeds of some of the national newspapers.

It appears that the Telegraph ‘recycling’ RSS feed hasn’t been updated in 3 months (even during the Copenhagen talks), while

“The Daily Mail has upwards of 30 RSS feeds, each updating you on a celebrity of your choice. But no environment feed. Nothing.”

So what does a newspaper’s RSS feeds say about its priorities? Any other examples?

February 05 2010

15:35

4 Minute Roundup: Facebook as News Reader; Engadget Comments

This episode of 4MR is brought to you by GoDaddy, helping you set up your own website in a snap with domain name registration, web hosting and 24/7 support. Visit GoDaddy to learn more.

Here's the latest 4MR audio report from MediaShift. In this week's edition, I look at the rise of Facebook as a place to find news. Hitwise found that Facebook was the #4 referrer of traffic to news sites, after Google, Yahoo, and MSN -- and above Google News. Plus, the tech blog Engadget shut down comments after an influx of trolls, before relenting to open them again. And I ask Just One Question to Google News founder Krishna Bharat, who explains how 9/11 inspired him to create the service.

Check it out:

4mrbareaudio2510.mp3

>>> Subscribe to 4MR <<<

>>> Subscribe to 4MR via iTunes <<<

Background music is "What the World Needs" by the The Ukelele Hipster Kings via PodSafe Music Network.

Here are some links to related sites and stories mentioned in the podcast:

Facebook Largest News Reader? at Hitwise

Facebook Could Become World's Leading News Reader at ReadWriteWeb

Creating Your Personalized News Channel at Facebook blog

Is Facebook, Not Google, the Real Global Newspaper? at The Atlantic

Facebook helps the news industry, but it's no white knight at VentureBeat

We're turning comments off for a bit in Engadget

Comments getting out of hand, Engadget turns them off at AFP

Engadget editor - Why I turned off comments at VentureBeat

Are Blog Comments Worth It? at Web Worker Daily

How Much Blog Would a Blogger Blog If a Blog Chucked Its Comments? at MediaPost

Commenting on Engadget - a human's guide at Engadget

Google News to Publishers - Let's Make Love Not War at PBS MediaShift

Here's a graphical view of the most recent MediaShift survey results. The question was: "What do you think about Apple's iPad?"

ipad survey grab.jpg

Also, be sure to vote in our poll about where you find news online:


What's your primary source for news discovery online?(polls)

Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He also writes the bi-weekly OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association. He lives in San Francisco with his son Julian. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit.

This episode of 4MR is brought to you by GoDaddy, helping you set up your own website in a snap with domain name registration, web hosting and 24/7 support. Visit GoDaddy to learn more.

This is a summary. Visit our site for the full post ».

15:00

This Week in Review: Google’s new features, what to do with the iPad, and Facebook’s rise as a news reader

[Every Friday, Mark Coddington sums up the week’s top stories about the future of news and the debates that grew up around them. —Josh]

A gaggle of Google news items: Unlike the past several weeks with their paywall and iPad revelations, this week wasn’t dominated by one giant future-of-media story. But there were quite a few incremental happenings that proved to be interesting, and several of them involved Google. We’ll start with those.

— The Google story that could prove to be the biggest over the long term actually happened last week, in the midst of our iPad euphoria: Google unveiled a beta form of Social Search, which allows you to search your “social circle” in addition to the standard results served up for you by Google’s magic algorithm. (CNN has some more details.) I’m a bit surprised at how little chatter this rollout is getting (then again, given the timing, probably not), but tech pioneer Dave Winer loves the idea — not so much for its sociality but because it “puts all social services on the same open playing field”; you decide how important your contacts from Twitter or Facebook are, not Google’s algorithm.

— Also late last week, several media folks got some extended time with Google execs at Davos. Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger posted his summary, focusing largely on Google’s faceoff with China. “What Would Google Do?” author Jeff Jarvis posted his summary, with lots of Google minutiae. (Jeff Sonderman also further summarized Jarvis’ summary.) Among the notable points from Jarvis: Google is “working on making news as compelling as possible” and CEO Eric Schmidt gets in a slam on the iPad in passing.

— Another Google feature was launched this week: Starring on Google News stories. The stars let you highlight stories (that’s story clusters, not individual articles) to save and return to them later. Two major tech blogs, ReadWriteWeb and TechCrunch, gave the feature their seal of approval, with ReadWriteWeb pointing to this development as the first of many ways Google can personalize its algorithm when it comes to news. It’s an intriguing concept, though woefully lacking in functionality at this point, as TechCrunch notes: I can’t even star individual stories to highlight or organize coverage of a particular issue. I sure hope at least that feature is coming.

Also in the Google-and-news department: Google economist Hal Varian expressed skepticism about news paywalls, arguing that reading news for many is a worktime distraction. And two Google folks, including Google News creator Krishna Bharat, give bunches of interesting details about Google News in a MediaShift interview, including some conciliatory words for publishers.

— Meanwhile billionaire tech entrepreneur Mark Cuban officially jumped on the Google-News-is-evil train, calling Google a “vampire” and urging news organizations not to index their content there. Not surprisingly, this wasn’t well-received in media-futurist circles: GigaOM’s Mathew Ingram, a former newspaperman himself, said Cuban and his anti-Google comrade, Rupert Murdoch, ignore the growing search traffic at news sites. Several other bloggers noted that Cuban has expressed a desire in the past to invest in other news aggregators and currently invests in Mahalo, which does some Google News-esque “sucking” of its own.

— Finally, after not carrying AP stories since December, Google struck some sort of quasi-deal that allows it to host AP content — but it’s still choosing not to do so. Search engine guru Danny Sullivan wonders what it might mean, given the AP and Google’s icy relations. Oh yeah, and Google demoed some ideas of what a Chrome OS tablet — read: iPad competitor — might look like.

What the iPad will do (and what to do with it): Commentary continued to trickle out this week about Apple’s newly announced iPad, with much of talk shifting from the device’s particulars to its implications on technology and how news organizations should develop for it.

Three most essential pieces all make similar points: Former McClatchy exec Howard Weaver likens the iPad to the newspaper in its physical simplicity and thinks it “will enrich human beings by removing technological barriers.” In incredibly thoughtful posts, software developers Steven Frank and Fraser Speirs take a programming-oriented tack, arguing that the iPad simplifies computing, bringing it home for normal (non-geek) people.

Frank compares it to an automatic transmission vs. the traditional manual one, and Speirs says it frees people from tedious tasks like “formatting the margins, installing the printer driver, uploading the document, finishing the PowerPoint slides, running the software update or reinstalling the OS” to do the real work of living life. In another interesting debate, interaction designer Sarah G. Mitchell argues that without multitasking or a camera (maybe?), the iPad is an antisocial device, and developer Edd Dumbill counters that it’s “real-life social” — made for passing around with friends and family.

Plenty of folks have ideas about what news organizations should do with the iPad: Poynter’s Bill Mitchell and news designer Joe Zeff both propose that newspapers and magazines could partially or totally subsidize iPads with subscriptions. Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt says that wouldn’t work, and Zeff gives a rebuttal. Publish2’s Ryan Sholin has an idea for a newsstand app for the iPad, and Frederic Filloux at The Monday Note has a great picture of what the iPad experience could look like by next year if news orgs act quickly.

And of course, Robert Niles of The Online Journalism Review and BusinessWeek’s Rich Jaroslovsky remind us what several others said (rightly, I think) last week: The iPad is what content producers make of it.

Facebook as a news reader: Last Friday, Facebook encouraged its users to make their own personalized news channel by creating a list of all the news outlets of which they’ve become a fan. The tech blog ReadWriteWeb — which has been remarkably perceptive on the implications of Facebook’s statements lately — noted that while a Facebook news feed couldn’t hold up to a news junkie’s RSS feed, it has the potential to become a “world-changing subscription platform” for mainstream users because of its ubiquity, sociality and accessibility. (He makes a pretty compelling case.)

Then came the numbers from Hitwise to back ReadWriteWeb up: Facebook was the No. 4 source of visits to news sites last week, behind only Google, Yahoo and MSN. It also accounts for more than double the amount of news media traffic as Google News and more than 300 times that of the web’s largest RSS program, Google Reader. ReadWriteWeb’s Marshall Kirkpatrick responded with a note that most news-site traffic still comes through search, and offered a challenge to Facebook to “encourage its giant nation of users to add subscriptions to diverse news sources to their news feeds of updates from friends and family.”

This week in (somewhat) depressing journalism statistics: Starting with the most cringe-inducing: Rick Edmonds of Poynter calculates that newspaper classified revenue is down 70 percent in the last decade. He does see one bright spot, though: Revenue from paid obituaries remains strong. Yup, people are still dying, and their families are still using the newspaper to tell people about it. In the magazine world, Advertising Age found that publishers are still reporting further declines in newsstand sales, though not as steep as last year.

In the world of web statistics, a Pew study found that blogging is steady among adults and significantly down among teens. In other words, “Blogging is for old people.” Of course, social media use was way up for both teens and adults.

A paywall step, and some suggestions: Steven Brill’s new Journalism Online paid-content service has its first newspaper, The Intelligencer Journal-Lancaster New Era in Pennsylvania. In reporting the news, The New York Times noted that the folks behind both groups were trying to lower expectations for the service. The news business expert Alan Mutter didn’t interpret the news well, concluding that “newspapers lost their last chance to hang together when it became clear yesterday that the wheels seemingly have come off Journalism Online.”

In a comically profane post, Silicon Valley veteran Dave McClure makes the strangely persuasive argument that the fundamental business model of the web is about to switch from cost-per-click ads to subscriptions and transactions, and that because people have trouble remembering passwords, they’ll login and pay through Gmail, iTunes or Facebook. (Mathew Ingram says McClure’s got a point.) Crowdfunding advocate David Cohn proposes a crowdfunded twist on micropayments at news sites.

Reading roundup: Two interesting discussions, and then three quick thought-provoking pieces. First, here at the Lab, future Minnesota j-prof Seth Lewis asks for input about what the journalism school of the future should look like, adding that he believes its core value should be adaptability. Citizen journalism pioneer Dan Gillmor gave a remarkably thorough, well-thought-out picture of his ideal j-school. His piece and Steve Buttry’s proposal in November are must-reads if you’re thinking about media education or involved in j-school.

Second, the discussion about objectivity in journalism continues to smolder several weeks after it was triggered by journalists’ behavior in Haiti. This week, two broadsides against objectivity — one by Publish2’s Paul Korr calling it pathological, and another by former foreign correspondent Chris Hedges saying it “killed the news.” Both arguments are certainly strident ones, but thoughtful and worth considering.

Finally, two interesting concepts: At the Huffington Post, MTV’s Maya Baratz calls for newspapers to think of themselves as apps, commanding them to “Be fruitful and multiply. Elsewhere.” And at the National Sports Journalism Center, former Wall Street Journal journalist Jason Fry has a sharp piece on long-form journalism, including a dirty little secret (“most of it doesn’t work in any medium”) and giving some tips to make it work anyway.

February 04 2010

10:00

ReadWriteWeb/Hitwise: Is Facebook become the biggest ‘news reader’ on the web?

An article on ReadWriteWeb suggests that Facebook has become the biggest ‘news reader’ online – more people are using the site to read news feeds than services like MyYahoo and iGoogle.

Facebook itself has been pushing its audience to use the site in this way by encouraging users to become fans of news organisations and then creating a list that only displays updates from those news sources, says RWW, which goes into detail on why it thinks Facebook could become “a world-changing subscription platform”.

Elsewhere, Hitwise has some stats in response to RWW’s story which suggest that Facebook was the fourth biggest driver of visits to news and media sites last week in the US.

Similar Posts:



08:04
08:02

February 02 2010

07:43

January 14 2010

09:00

December 17 2009

23:27

Top 100 tools in 2009 for learning and for journalism


This compilation of the top 100 tools of 2009 for learning published by social learning consultant Jane Hart could just as well apply to journalism.

The darling of the year, Twitter, came top.  Other valuable tools in the top 10 are Delicious, YouTube, Google Reader, Google Docs, WordPress, Slideshare, Google Search, Audacity and Firefox.

I, for one, find all of these pretty indispensable. Are they part of your classroom or your newsroom?

December 02 2009

02:11

Journalists use RSS to track rivals, news, tweets & other info

This post sponsored by the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

RSS is an incredibly useful way for journalists to keep track of beats by watching what is being published online, whether on news sites, blogs, Twitter, saved Google search terms, etc.

I spoke to three journalists about how they use RSS for research and reporting. They also each gave one really good tip for diving into RSS.

For those unfamiliar with RSS, Wikipedia has this to say about RSS:

RSS (most commonly expanded as “Really Simple Syndication” but sometimes “Rich Site Summary”) is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format. Web feeds benefit publishers by letting them syndicate content automatically. They benefit readers who want to subscribe to timely updates from favored websites or to aggregate feeds from many sites into one place. RSS feeds can be read using software called an “RSS reader”, “feed reader”, or “aggregator”, which can be web-based, desktop-based, or mobile-device-based.

Eric Berger

Eric Berger has been a reporter at the Houston Chronicle for 10 years and has been covering science for the last eight years. He has been blogging about science since 2005, creating a community to discuss science at SciGuy.

“When I first started blogging I found science blogs and used RSS as a means to keep track of the flow of information,” Berger said. “It’s too difficult and time-consuming to visit 100 blogs a day.”

Berger uses Bloglines, a popular RSS feed reader, to follow around 80 Web sites and blogs. He estimates seeing 300 new items a day.

“Back in the dark ages (five -six years ago), if I was working on a story I might be solely focused on that and not seeing what else what happening in science,” Berger said. “Now it’s impossible to escape that.”

He follows scientists of various disciplines, so he can keep track of various scientific communities. He also collects news releases via RSS, which sometimes turn into blog entries.

“If that strikes a chord in the community, then you can spin it into a story for the newspaper,” he said.

One Tip:

“Just experiment with it [RSS] and put new feeds in and don’t be afraid to add or delete feeds. Your feed reader shouldn’t be static, your list of feeds should fluctuate with what you’re working on.”

David Brauer

David Brauer covers media and occasionally politics for MinnPost.com.

Using RSS became a critical part of Brauer’s job in March of 2008, when he started writing a aggregated morning briefing for MinnPost.com.

“You have to make sure to pay attention to local news sources,” Brauer said. “The only way to do it is with RSS. RSS makes it very efficient to know what’s going on in the area I cover.”

Brauer no longer does the morning briefing, but RSS has remained vital in more general work. He is subscribed to 138 feeds in Google Reader, primarily local media feeds such as public radio, tv stations, alt weeklies and of course, the local newspapers.

“It’s one of the tools I use most as a reporter. RSS and Twitter,” he said. “RSS is good for checking things I already know to check; Twitter is good for finding things I wouldn’t have known to follow.”

His feeds are organized with 24 tags, categorizing feeds into sections such as sports, tech, big, little and suburban, public radio, local aggregators, local blogs, local papers, college journalists, national and politics.

“I see over 1,000 new items a day, but experienced users know you can just mark all items as read and move on,” Brauer said. “Be somewhat aware of balance so you don’t spend all day in RSS.”

One Tip:

Brauer suggests that journalists look into the sync features offered by many RSS readers, and to make sure that your RSS reader of choice is available for multiple platforms. (Google Reader has Web and mobile versions that sync.)

Sean Blanda

Sean Blanda is an editor at Vital Business Media and a co-founder of Technically Philly.

Blanda started using RSS around 2005, with Bloglines.

“It was coolest thing in the world that I didn’t have to put up with email and could still get content sent to me,” he said. “When I figured out you could get feeds of Google Alerts (and now Twitter mentions) it really spiraled out of control.”

Most of his ideas for stories at Vital come from media news feeds he gathers. He also runs Technically Philly part time and uses RSS to gather information quickly and get a large cross-section of sources.

“Our readership is very active on social media and blogging, so I have alerts for people’s names, companies, locations in Philadelphia, etc.”

Blanda uses Google Reader instead of Bloglines now, attracted by the social tools Google has been adding recently. Users can follow friends, share stories and comment on content together.

“I can see what my friends think is important too,” he said. “Most of my college newsroom was using Google Reader and it became a better way to stay in touch and shoot story ideas back and forth.”

He keeps 377 subscriptions organized by purpose, so for Vital he has folders by industry and for Technically Philly he sorts by beat and general news.

“I check all of the feeds related to my job everyday, every story,” Blanda said. “The other stuff, I get to it when I can, if not, no big deal. And sometimes I declare bankruptcy and mark all as read.”

Blanda can’t estimate how many news items he gets in a day: “It [Google Reader] always says 1000+ (unread items). I’d say I check around 500-600 a day.”

One Tip

“My one tip would either be to get other people on your beat to share on Google Reader or to not forget Yahoo Pipes as a way to filter info…something I haven’t taken enough advantage of. With enough work you could always be sure to get relevant information.”

Do you use RSS to research and report? How do you organize your feeds and fight information overload? What creative uses do you put RSS to? Can you offer other tips?

July 16 2008

15:02

Page2RSS - Create an RSS feed for any web page

It is a service that helps you monitor web sites that do not publish feeds. It will check any web page for updates and deliver them to your favorite RSS aggregator.
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