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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

VT Newspapers using RSS

Just got this email from Jessamyn, tech teacher and librarian blogger from Bethel:

Hey there -- I just noticed that the Randolph Herald now has RSS feeds for their news.

See the link on the lower left side. Amazing. I may be wrong, but I think
they'e only the second newspaper in VT to do this.

I just double-checked, and it looks like neither the Freep or the RH/TA have RSS. I could have sworn the RH/TA had it. So looks like the The County Courier is the only one that I know of.

Anybody know of others?

FYI — my blog has a feed, and I write for 7D, so that kinda counts. We're working on getting feeds for our other features.

May 17, 2005 at 12:10 PM in Media/Keeping an eye on the competition | Permalink

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Yeah Cathy, late last week the Vermont Guardian began experimenting using an rss feed (check out the left-hand column, just underneath their hyperlinks and above the ads), though it is limited at this point in time due to some sort of various limitations on their end that I do not completely understand. I guess they are still trying to figure it out and have a huge learning curve when it comes to rss and xml, etc. (same as I do actually).

Posted by: mwb | May 17, 2005 2:04:37 PM

P.S.

To clarify my above comment a bit: Some of the ways the VG rss feed is limited is that it does not automatically include anything posted on the actual VG site. Instead it is only a very limited feed of whatever may be manually posted to the feed, due to some sort of problem with their using Mac or something, I don't know. Anyway, because of that and time constraints as a result, only a limited number of things get posted using the rss feed even though there is more posted on the site. As I have a steep learning curve regarding all this stuff anyway, it only confuses me all the more concerning what I know absolutely nothing about.

Posted by: mwb | May 17, 2005 2:13:49 PM

Yes, The Islander out of South Hero has RSS feeds. I think their website is http://champlainislander.com. They also seem to use the same online system that the County Courier uses.

Those interested in subscribing, here's the RSS URL:

http://champlainislander.com/index2.php?option=com_rss&feed=RSS1.0&no_html=1

Posted by: Mark | May 17, 2005 2:29:38 PM

Anybody know why these small rinky dink papers (sorry VT Guardian!) have picked up on RSS when the major VT papers haven't? I wonder if these smaller papers happen to have early adopters on staff, and the bigger papers don't. Or maybe there's less flexibility when you work for Gannett than when you work for the Islander? I would imagine that would be the case.

Posted by: cresmer | May 17, 2005 2:54:32 PM

What's really interesting is that RSS is a very old technology that has only really taken off in the last couple years. It's very basic XML and as to why the Freepress and other larger newspapers haven't adopted the technology, is they either don't see the benefit or whoever oversees the website doesn't know how to implement it. For instance, the Freepress site overwrites their pages, so if you link to it one week, and go back later it's a completely different article --- that's very lazy and way old school. I can tell by looking at The County Courier and The Islander that they are dynamic websites -- oh by the way, this is the company that seems to run both the Courier and the Islander, and maybe other publications, i'm not sure: iampresentations.com. The sites being dynamic allows for many features and functionality to be built from the sites... ok, many of you probably knew that, sorry! The Freepress and other larger papers may just have someone on staff uploading limited content so they can atleast have a website, and many publishers don't like the web, or see it's potential.

Posted by: Mark | May 17, 2005 3:14:19 PM

Great thread. Speaking on behalf of a couple of the bigger papers (Rutland Herald and Times Argus), we've had RSS on our list for a while, since around the time we launched the Hall Monitor blog. But our list is long and our New Media team is small...

The feeds were brought back to my attention when Norsehorse e-mailed me last week to ask when we were going to get around to putting them up. I agreed we'd been neglectful – I think RSS is really important; I built a feed for our NH Primary site back when I was at a New Hampshire newspaper during the last election cycle and felt like I was slow getting around to it then.

The upshot is, we got on it and did some coding today and finished up some dynamically generated beta feeds for our blogs and some of our key news categories.

Here’s a link to the feeds as they are. We’ll probably tweak and refine for another day or so before we put the link live on the home page as well, and any feedback is welcome.

http://www.rutlandherald.com/RSS

As to the question of why bigger newspapers seem slower to adopt these things… I don’t think they always are – sometimes bigger papers are way out in front on adopting new technologies, this is especially true with the really big players (with really deep pockets). Though in some cases it's true that the small papers act more swiftly and in those cases, it may be a case of bigger ships turning more slowly, and it may also be a case of more layers of accountability, and it may be that in the case of “smaller bigger” newspapers, the New Media staff is not larger by a directly relative proportion to the New Media staff of a “big small” paper.

Posted by: Ernesto | May 17, 2005 5:57:25 PM

Good start Ernesto. I've added the Hall Monitor and Get Real blogs to my Vermont-based blogs listing as well as the Rutland
Herald's statewide news and editorials within my "MSM (Main Stream Media) Feeds" on my Bloglines blogroll, here.

Had not even known about the Get Real blog. Up until now it must have been among one of the Rutland Herald's best kept secrets [smile].

Anyway I am glad to know about it now and will check it out more when I have the time and online access to do so. Right now I am late and need to rush off.

Posted by: mwb | May 17, 2005 7:50:57 PM

On the Radio front: Looks like VPR has finally gone RSS as well: http://www.vpr.net/rss.shtml

North Country Public Radio has had it for some time: http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/newsfeedinfo.php

Posted by: Sonny Cloward | May 18, 2005 7:22:45 AM

Ernesto says they've been meaning to add RSS feeds to RH/TA site — we've been meaning to do it, too, at 7D. But there's a long list of priorities, and not nearly enough time to implement everything. Duh — it took me several months just to get this simple blog up and running.

I wonder...how many people actually use RSS feeds? I don't use a reader yet. I've tried, but it still seems too complicated for me. Or maybe I'm just not doing it right. I think we're all kinda stalling because we wonder just how badly we really need RSS feeds. I don't have a sense what the penetration is here. I think we're still in the early, early adopter phase. How do I know? 1) There's literally no one at 7D who uses them yet. 2) I get a lot of blank stares whenever I talk about them. At least the blog blank stares have stopped.

Which is not to say that it wouldn't be great to have RSS.

Posted by: cresmer | May 18, 2005 9:31:10 AM

I want to add that I think RSS, as a concept, is really smart. I aspire to use it someday, and I think that local news providers absolutely need to figure it out. I know I hate it when I miss a story in the Free Press about Winooski. It would be great if I could know about a Winooski story when it appeared. I think RSS adoption is part of the answer to the declining importance of local news in young people's lives. I think people care about the news, but they only want to get the news that they want to read. There are problems with that approach, but I think RSS is part of the solution.

Posted by: cresmer | May 18, 2005 9:41:05 AM

It's easy to get into (maybe too easy!) once you have the right reading tool. I have used the SharpReader for the past year and am pretty happy with it. It's free, easy to use and simple to set up. It also doesn't freeze my system the way a couple of the other free readers I have used in past years did. Mozilla's Thunderbird e-mail application has a built-in RSS reader, but it has a ways to go before it's as good as some of the stand-alones.

Posted by: Ernesto | May 18, 2005 9:52:42 AM

If you don't have a lot of RAM or Hard Drive space, but you have a good Internet connection (even works well with a 56K dialup),

Posted by: Sonny | May 18, 2005 10:44:24 AM

Whoops... Bloglines (http://www.bloglines.com) is the service I trying to mention above.

Posted by: Sonny | May 18, 2005 10:46:52 AM

By the way, as Ernesto mentioned would happen (within his first comment post earlier in this thread), the live links for both the Rutland Herald (RH) and Times Argus (TA) rss feeds of their key news categories have since been posted up on the news pages of respective sites (listed under services in the left-hand column).

The actual rss feed pages are here (RH) and, here (TA).

Thank you Ernesto and crew!

Posted by: mwb | May 22, 2005 8:45:12 PM

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