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October 08 2010


Online journalism student RSS reader starter pack: 50 RSS feeds

Teaching has begun in the new academic year and once again I’m handing out a list of recommended RSS feeds. Last year this came in the form of an OPML file, but this year I’m using Google Reader bundles (instructions on how to create one of your own are here). There are 50 feeds in all – 5 feeds in each of 10 categories. Like any list, this is reliant on my own circles of knowledge and arbitrary in various respects. But it’s a start. I’d welcome other suggestions.

Here is the list with links to the bundles. Each list is in alphabetical order – there is no ranking:

5 of the best: Community

A link to the bundle allowing you to add it to your Google Reader is here.

  1. Blaise Grimes-Viort
  2. Community Building & Community Management
  3. FeverBee
  4. ManagingCommunities.com
  5. Online Community Strategist

5 of the best: Data

This was a particularly difficult list to draw up – I went for a mix of visualisation (FlowingData), statistics (The Numbers Guy), local and national data (CountCulture and Datablog) and practical help on mashups (OUseful). I cheated a little by moving computer assisted reporting blog Slewfootsnoop into the 5 UK feeds and 10,000 Words into Multimedia. Bundle link here.

  1. CountCulture
  2. FlowingData
  3. Guardian Datablog
  4. OUseful.info
  5. WSJ.com: The Numbers Guy

5 of the best: Enterprise

There’s a mix of UK and US blogs covering the economic side of publishing here (if you know of ones with a more international perspective I’d welcome suggestions), and a blog on advertising to round things up. Frequency of updates was another factor in drawing up the list. Bundle link here.

  1. Ad Sales Blog
  2. Media Money
  3. Newsonomics
  4. Newspaper Death Watch
  5. The Information Valet

5 of the best: Industry feeds

Something of a catch-all category. There are a number of BBC blogs I could have included but The Editors is probably the most important. The other 4 feeds cover the 2 most important external drivers of traffic to news sites: search engines and Facebook. Bundle link here.

  1. All Facebook
  2. BBC News – The Editors
  3. Facebook Blog
  4. Search Engine Journal
  5. Search Engine Land

5 of the best: Feeds on law, ethics and regulation

Trying to cover the full range here: Jack of Kent is a leading source of legal discussion and analysis, and Martin Moore covers regulation, ethics and law regularly. Techdirt is quite transparent about where it sits on legal issues, but its passion is also a strength in how well it covers those grey areas of law and the web. Tech and Law is another regular source, while Judith Townend’s new blog on Media Law & Ethics is establishing itself at the heart of UK bloggers’ attempts to understand where they stand legally. Bundle link here.

  1. Jack of Kent
  2. Martin Moore
  3. Media Law & Ethics
  4. Tech and Law
  5. Techdirt

5 of the best: Media feeds

There’s an obvious UK slant to this selection, with Editors Weblog and E-Media Tidbits providing a more global angle. Here’s the bundle link.

  1. Editors Weblog
  2. E-Media Tidbits
  3. Journalism.co.uk
  4. MediaGuardian
  5. paidContent

5 of the best: Feeds about multimedia journalism

Another catch-all category. Andy Dickinson tops my UK feeds, but he’s also a leading expert on online video and related areas. 10,000 Words is strong on data, among other things. And Adam Westbrook is good on enterprise as well as practising video journalism and audio slideshows. Bundle link here.

  1. 10,000 Words
  2. Adam Westbrook
  3. Advancing the Story
  4. Andy Dickinson
  5. News Videographer

5 of the best: Technology feeds

A mix of the mainstream, the new, and the specialist. As the Guardian’s technology coverage is incorporated into its Media feed, I was able to include ReadWriteWeb instead, which often provides a more thoughtful take on technology news. Bundle link here.

  1. Mashable
  2. ReadWriteWeb
  3. TechCrunch
  4. Telegraph Connected
  5. The Register

5 of the best: UK feeds

Alison Gow’s Headlines & Deadlines is the best blog by a regional journalist I can think of (you may differ – let me know). Adam Tinworth’s One Man and his Blog represents the magazines sector, and Martin Belam’s Currybetdotnet casts an eye across a range of areas, including the more technical side of things. Murray Dick (Slewfootsnoop) is an expert on computer assisted reporting and has a broadcasting background. The Online Journalism Blog is there because I expect them to read my blog, of course. Bundle link here.

  1. Currybetdotnet
  2. Headlines and Deadlines
  3. One Man & His Blog
  4. Online Journalism Blog
  5. Slewfootsnoop

5 of the best: US feeds

Jay, Jeff and Mindy are obvious choices for me, after which it is relatively arbitrary, based on the blogs that update the most – particularly open to suggestions here. Bundle link here.

  1. BuzzMachine
  2. Jay Rosen: Public Notebook
  3. OJR
  4. Teaching Online Journalism
  5. Yelvington.com

March 22 2010


Sharing your Google Reader subscriptions with bundles

Google Reader’s ‘Bundles’ feature – which allows you to share a selected collection of your subscriptions in a range of ways – has been around for 10 months now, but as I’m asking my students this week to use it, I thought I’d blog a quick how-to and why-to.

Traditionally, to share your Google Reader subscriptions you’ve had to know how to export and import an OPML file. To share a specific selection of those subscriptions you had to know how to edit an OPML file (clue: use a text editor).

OPML also has the disadvantage of not making it easy to see at a glance what subscriptions it contains.

Bundles, on the other hand, make it pretty easy to do all of the above. It will also:

  • Create a specific page showing the latest headlines from the selected feeds
  • Allow others to easily add those feeds to their own Google Reader
  • Embed those feeds on a widget on another website (javascript support required, i.e. not Wordpress.com)
  • Allow you to email it
  • Create an, er, OPML file

For my own purposes, it’s especially useful because I normally ask students to submit a screenshot of their RSS reader subscriptions for their Online Journalism assignments as evidence of their newsgathering (along with their Delicious URL and a logbook of sources). This saves them that process – and a bit of printing.

Frustratingly, it’s not the easiest feature to find and use. So here’s how you do it:

Step 1: go to ‘Browse for stuff’

You’ll find it under ‘Your stuff’ (see image, left).

Step 2: click on ‘Create a bundle’

The main area should now change to ‘Discover and search for feeds’, with the ‘Browse’ tab selected. Look to the right of the suggested bundles to find the button that says ‘Create a bundle’ (normally on the right hand side).

Step 3: drag and drop the feeds or folders you want to share into the dotted box

Your feeds should be visible in the ‘Subscriptions’ box in the left hand column of the screen (under ‘Browse for stuff’, ‘People you follow’ and ‘Explore’. If it is hard to see your feeds under all of that, collapse those sections by clicking on the ‘-’ box next to them).

If you are dragging a folder of feeds, the title will be automatically filled in for you. Or you can choose your own, and add a description.

Click Save, and the main area will change again to give you some options to share your new bundle.

Step 4: Share your new bundle however you like

Having written this post I discovered another that would have saved me the time (and includes a nifty way to share folders by simply clicking on the drop-down menu to the right of a folder and selecting ‘Create a bundle‘ . Check it out to see more images while I bang my head on the desk…

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