The first assignment I’m having my JOUR 121: Advanced Writing and Reporting for the Media students do this semester is to sign up for an RSS reader. While some will say that RSS readers are less relevant in this era of Twitter and other aggregators, there are myriad reasons to use them:
- RSS readers help journalists stay informed. As a journalist, you’re expected to read, and read widely. But it can be difficult to carve out the time to seek out all the news sites and newspapers you need. Yes, you could bookmark each site, but you’d still have to go to the content, instead of having the content come to you.
- You have control over how deep you read. The reader will share headlines first, so if you only want to graze, you can glance through those and be minimally up-to-date. Want to gorge? Click on a link to read the entire post or article.
- Readers make sure you’re getting the most recent content. Once you subscribe to a particular blog through your RSS reader, you’ll be sure to get posts as they are published. Just open your reader and there’s the fresh content waiting for you.
- Readers allow you to categorize your feeds. You can set up a category for any interest. For example, you might set up one that focuses on all your multimedia blogs and website, another for your cooking sites, and still another for news sites. That way, if you are short on time, you can limit yourself to one set of feeds.
- And because you’ll be so informed, you’ll have a constant flow of story, blog, or Twitter ideas.
And once you get RSS reader savvy, there’s even more you can do, everything from creating personalized magazines to timelines all from your feeds.