Papers Work With RSS To Provide Custom Content

Papers Work With RSS To Provide Custom Content

Earlier in the week we talked about how the use of blogs by a number of newspapers has fueled online readership. Another aspect of emerging technology the papers are playing with is RSS - a kind of data stream that webusers can use to read sites and blogs 'off-site' in places like MyYahoo and RSS Aggregators.

Piers Fawkes, PSFK
  • 19 january 2007

Earlier in the week we talked about how the use of blogs by a number of newspapers has fueled online readership. Another aspect of emerging technology the papers are playing with is RSS – a kind of data stream that web users can use to read sites and blogs ‘off-site’ in places like MyYahoo and RSS Aggregators (you can find PSFK’s RSS feed here).

One of the current theories floating around is that, en-masse, people won’t adapt to RSS technology in its current form because it’s not easy or intuitive to use. The LA Times has rolled out a beta that puts RSS to work behind the scenes and lets users have their own web-version of the paper with headlines added from their favorite external sites. Users of MyLATimes can select headlines from sites the editor picks or even add their own feeds of their favorite sites. PSFK emailed Jason Oberfest at the LA Times to explain what they were up to

We see a big gap in the RSS reader market now. We believe that the mainstream portal readers generally have OK product design but do not offer strong preconfigured content options and are largely designed for users who understand the concept of RSS and want to build their pages from scratch, one RSS feed at a time. We also believe that for the most part the offerings from the newspapers are either slow to load, have less than optimal usability, or are too conservative in presenting their own content over other sources on the web. Our editors have great knowledge of third party sources of information on the web, so why not share it with our users? We thought there was a great opportunity to launch a reader for our audience that was much better pre-configured than most readers and hopefully easier to use overall.

The paper plans to get user feedback based on this initial beta launch and also increase the frequency of the RSS feeds coming from the newsroom.


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