Cut and paste request for RSS

One of the really cool things about being a New Media evangelist is the occasional opportunity to see the light go on in others. A friend wrote last week that she had discovered RSS. Here’s her wonderful note:

This week Yahoo launched its beta version RSS aggregator. Now I understand what it is and why it’s so exciting.

I gave up TV news and paper newspapers 4 years ago when I moved to the US. You know, you sort of “bond” with a news service and paper, and nothing on offer here grabbed my attention sufficiently. Since then I’ve read various papers online, and had the Reuters headlines on my myYahoo! page. Until now, Reuters was my only choice.

Now, with RSS I’ve been able to add the BBC, Guardian Unlimited and New York Times Business feeds. See, I don’t need the “headlines” from all of them — that would just give me the same story 3 times. So I choose BBC for general news and NYT for business news and Guardian for features.

But my two regular online newspapers don’t supply RSS feeds. If they did, I could ditch Reuters altogether. That’s brand loyalty, if only they could see it!

I have no idea how or what is involved in making an online newspaper “RSS-able” (I’m sure you’ve covered it), but please consider blogging us simple “cut and paste” request we can send to our favourite online papers/news sources? Is it as “simple” as producing an XML version of their website?

I would guess by now that most online news organizations have heard of RSS and are considering all of the ramifications of providing the service. A little note from fans may be just what’s necessary to tip the scales towards more choices for us. So, here’s my little “cut and paste” note to send to media companies:
To Whom it may concern:

The purpose of this correspondence is to formally request that you syndicate your news content via RSS. RSS is an acronym for “Really Simple Syndication,” and it has become my primary method of news consumption. I’ve long been a reader of your content, but I’m afraid that will end unless I can receive story notification from you via RSS.

Many major news publications and organizations make their material available via RSS, including The New York Times, Reuters, Slate, The BBC, The Washington Post, USA Today, and others. I no longer have to visit these sites to get my news from them, for it comes to me via my RSS reader.

You can learn everything you need to know about making your content available via RSS from this Website.

Thank you very much,

(Your name)

Simply highlight this in your browser, copy it, paste it into an html-formatted email, and send it to the editor of your choice. Good luck.


  1. Hey, Terry,

    Has anyone done any research on what this does for the traffic of the news Web sites that are RSS’d?

  2. I’ve not seen any, but I’m sure it has been done. Since people wind up on the content provider’s site if they choose to read beyond the headline graph, it has to boost Website traffic. If not, there’d be no incentive for sites to participate.

    From my own experience, I can tell you that I get a ton of hits on my RSS address, but I also get considerable traffic from people reading beyond.

    I’ll ask around and see if I can’t find some research. Good question.

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