Bob Stepno's Other Journalism Weblog
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Thursday, February 24, 2005

AP via RSS -- Bloggers Susan Mernit, Jeff Jarvis and Rex Hammock are reporting various angles of the news that the Associated Press has launched some RSS feeds. Now news junkies using RSS readers ("aggregators") no longer have to subscribe to AP feeds through intermediate sources.

These do-it-yourself AP feeds carry headlines, datelines and a sentence summary, with a link to the full story at

So far, I haven't seen anyone point out that today's "featured feed" is a collection of NASCAR headlines, sure to find some Rocky Top Brigade subscribers. Here's the first of the 10 stories in the feed right now:
"NASCAR Hands Out Penalties: DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Robby Gordon Motorsports was fined $50,000 Wednesday and docked 25 championship points..."

The featured feed promises to change now and then, but one of the main headings offered is "Strange," which tonight leads with a twist on a classic what-is-news cliche:
"Blind Man Who Bit Guide Dog Charged: EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) -- A blind man who allegedly bit his guide dog has been charged with animal cruelty...."

Other than Strange, the main AP feeds look like the main sections of your Sunday paper: Top News, U.S. National, World, Politics, Washington, Business, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Science.

Reuters began offering RSS feeds last year, as have major news outlets like The New York Times, Washington Post, and even some Tennessee sites.

On the other hand, if you don't have 100 hours in a day to read the news feeds, you may want to let your favorite newspaper's wire desk (or neighborhood blogger) put together a mix of stories from a variety of services. In fact, that was my first "online news" job -- as a "shovelware" wire editor for the Nando Times, now absorbed by McClatchy newspapers as the "24 hour news" links on its member sites.

For more about RSS and aggregators and podcasts, see the lower left column of this blog's main page (which you don't see if you're just reading my RSS feed). In fact, I updated the podcast and videoblog article a couple of times and forgot to mention it here.

6:15:27 PM    

"Saturday in the Park with Orange" starts with Christo's "The Gates" but goes on to discuss the political ramifications of the color itself -- without a single reference to the University of Tennessee. OK, so the blog in question is based at the Christian Science Monitor in Boston... just shows how Knoxville-centric I've gotten in less than a year.

Speaking of The Gates and Boston, someone in my last hometown, Somerville, Mass., has become the anti-Christo, according to The New York Times. Also see

But I'm even more amused by "The Crackers." I stand by my original suggestion that someone stencil white T's on the orange curtains and haul them to Knoxville, trusting the air pollution and sunshine to alter their so-called "saffron" color to the shade of orange approved by the UT Office of Public Relations.

5:37:05 PM    

Maybe I can use SouthKnoxBubba's hairy take on the Sunsphere as the starting point for students to do online "background" research for a hypothetical follow-up story... requiring them to find some background on World's Fair Park, learn what Bart Simpson had to do with the Sunsphere, determine why Bubba added someone's name to the tower, and suggest how it's all related to journalism in a roundabout way.

Plenty of potential there for experiments with Boolean logic, and maybe even a sidetrip into a "Who owns what" of local news media. The comments on SKB's post are full of clues, too.

Sometimes being the ignorant new guy in town is fun. Maybe that's part of the excitement of journalism... the "perpetual outsider" role.

updated Friday, adding link to archived
Simpson-Sunsphere story at KnoxNews

3:58:23 PM    

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