Why You Need an RSS Reader

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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About Nancy Kaplan-Biegel

I am the journalism program coordinator at Skyline College in San Bruno, CA, as well as the adviser to The Skyline View.

49 thoughts on “Why You Need an RSS Reader

  1. Pingback: Follow These Journalism Blogs « Newsfangled: Learning to Teach New Media

  2. I’ve honestly never heard of RSS readers, but after reading this post, it seems interesting and definitely convenient. Different content from different sources being readily available as soon as they are updated is also a plus.

  3. I have heard of RSS feeds before and it sounds similar to an RSS reader. I think this is a good way to sort through the constant flow of news from a number of different sources but through one mode.

  4. I have never heard of the term RSS readers until reading the first Chapter of RGMP and Journ 2.0 where it was mentioned. I might actually grow to favor it to gather all my newsfeed especially if its spam-free. Overall it is just a more efficient way to gather your new/blog subscriptions all in one site.

  5. Pingback: RSS Readers Redux « Newsfangled: Learning to Teach New Media

  6. RSS readers are great. I honestly forgot about them for a little bit after I changed cell phones and forgot about the app. I use to always get my news on here during my free time or at work. I was first introduced to it a past semester in college by my Journalism professor , and now reminded again by the same professor. I am excited to be using Google reader again.

    • Yes, and the great thing about them is that you can categorize your feeds for different purposes. For instance, you can save all your feeds related to journalism in one folder (at least on the reader app I use) and all your national news feeds in another.

  7. I have known what RSS readers are for quite some time now, but being the type of person who usually steers clear of Twitter and Facebook and such, I never really gave it a chance. The OP is enlightening and I can see the validity of using a RSS reader

  8. I used to use an RSS reader a while back to keep up with my favorite websites can’t remember why I stopped using it. I had no idea they could be used to make interactive timelines and such, that is very cool.

  9. It’s interesting using an RSS feed. I’m not really used to using it yet, or have gotten into the habit of checking it often, but I do like the idea of being able to check everything I have interested in a dedicated spot.

    • Especially if you have a reader app on your smart phone. That’s the main way I use my reader.

  10. Pingback: Out With the Old; In With the Old Reader (If They Don’t Kill This Too) | Newsfangled: Learning to Teach New Media

  11. I have heard of RSS readers in the past but never took the time to figure out what they could actually do. They seem to be very helpful in making stories easier to read. Being able to categorize your feeds seems to be the most helpful aspect.

  12. I had never used an RSS prior to this, but in the last few days I’ve used it a lot and it’s shown me some very interesting and informative stories. Once this class is done I know for sure I’m going to keep this app for a long time

  13. look at steve being all sensible up there. i actually started with aol reader this morning on a suggestion that it is the best reader out there aside from digg which edges it out only by having better android compatibility, which means nothing to me (i knew aol was still good for something), so your snarky parenthetical in your google reader obituary, which i just read, fell on this proud aol-er’s deaf ears. anyway, it’s pretty great aside from the fact that subscribing to feeds automatically puts everything from that feed on my reader, so i have little “999+” icons next to all of my feeds. even with rss, i don’t think i have time to catch up on tens of thousands of stories.

    • Definitely hear you on the “999+” icons. (See photo that accompanied the post you read.) The way I figure it, though, you can cover tons of reading “ground,” so to speak, by scrolling through the headlines of those posts, only clicking through to the actual post or article on those that truly entice. And I definitely give myself permission to eventually just “mark as read” everything, if I haven’t checked in to my reader after an extended time. (For example, if I step away from my reader for a few days, my Mashable feed explodes to hundreds of posts.)

  14. I had no idea what RSS was, but I have a feeling this is going to save alot of time and effort. I’ve long dreamed of a more efficient way to peruse the internet. I can’t believe RSS aren’t more popular and that they weren’t a staple in the early days of the internet.

    • Jeanita, my experience is that a lot of people don’t know about them, but people who need to stay on top of a lot of reading (blogs, newspapers), etc. love them. When Google Reader shut down, people were so upset (myself among them).

  15. Really surprised how easy it was to use once i got the hang of it- The Old Reader actually lured me to browse news instead of drive me away because of its organizing ability.

  16. I really like the fact that i can stay informed just by skimming through headlines basically, therefore I save all the time i would’ve spent surfing for the website. It’s also very convenient how it’s not only personalized, but it also lets me prioritize my content.

  17. I have heard of RSS readers before, but never actually took the time to research what it was until now. It seems like a very efficient and effective tool to get the information and news that you want really fast. I’ll definitely have to start using one.

  18. I’m sad to say that I have not been informed of what RSS readers were until today. I appreciate the idea of having the latest up-to-date news or information that are in my interests on my feed and will definitely be utilizing this tool.

  19. I always find readers useful to see exactly what you want to see but the downside for me is if there’s some feed or subject you didn’t include you might never hear about it.

  20. I never heard of RSS until this class. I had no idea what it was, but from the information that was given to me, I think it sounds pretty cool. It’s like your own personal feed and you don’t have to see anything you don’t want to see, it is just the information you pick to see. It seems very personalized to the user’s interest.

  21. I never heard of RSS until this class. But from the information given to me, it sounds pretty cool because all the content is in once place. You don’t need to see anything you don’t want to see, and you can personally pick everything. It saves time, and you control everything.

    • That’s true, Marinelle. It also saves time because you can just skim the headlines of all the articles coming into your feed to get the gist, if you prefer.

  22. Though Twitter has been the largest disrupter to RSS readers in years past, in 2016 I have found myself turning to Facebook’s news aggregating feature and news pages’ postings for the majority of what is offered through RSS. However, using Facebook as a reader can be inconsistent, as what you see is decided only generally by you; ultimately it is up to either algorithm or what the page chooses to post to its social media. With an RSS reader, you have access to a larger pool of news, which is updated in real time. Old Reader in particular offers a more personalized and varied selection, and I am interested to see how it compares.

  23. It seems like RSS Readers really allow people to gather more information from different sources of interest at a much quicker pace that if you did not have it. Having an RSS reader means you don’t have to navigate the web so much to find information. It allows content to come to you instead of you searching all over for it.

    • Yes, Laurel. You can quickly scroll through the headlines of a lot of posts if you are in a particular rush, yet still get exposed to a lot of ideas.

  24. I knew that RSS Readers existed, but never did I dabble in it. Quite frankly, I didn’t even know what it did. There were times before where I would be looking at a website and wondered “What is this RSS? Better not press it just in case.” Now that I know about RSS Readers I might start using it. Might. In a post-modern era of Twitter, which i also barely use, Snapchat, Reddit, Facebook, and Instagram it has become very easy to stay in touch with news, whether you want to or not. However, it is pretty “cool” to personalize what kind of news you will get if that’s something you’re into, which I kind of am.

  25. Well, I don’t like this fancy reader thing. It sounds like too much effort. I want someone to physically come to my house every day and yell the news to me.

  26. I have never heard of an RSS reader, but I wish I had known about them when I was eic. It might have been useful. Not that it won’t be useful now, hopefully. I’m thinking it could help me find a variety of story ideas for my blog this semester.

  27. Yooo! I’ve been familiar with the RSS symbol on my favorite websites for as long as I can remember using the internet. However, I never went as far as finding out what it is until this class. It’s pretty cool to see news from all your favorite sources in one convenient location as opposed to scrolling through each website individually. It’s cool to have all that information consolidated into one place.

  28. Up until this lesson, I had literally never heard of RSS readers. However, it seems like a better way to read news than the top stories of a single site. I mainly see news through an aggregate site like Reddit, and having a dedicated personal news collection would help me stay on top of the world more, without the awful social aspects of sites like Facebook, which is how most people I know get news.

    • Interesting distinction you make about getting you news via a “social” setting versus an rss reader in which you set th parameters, rather than wait for others to share content.

  29. It’s still a good idea,even in the age of Twitter. It’s nice to have a feed only comprised of news feeds, without the risk of trolls or bots. Both are useful tools for journalism, but RSS readers seem more useful in a formal context for me.

    • I completely agree with what you say here. By the way, you might look at “lists” on Twitter to make the experience there a bit more reminiscent of what you like about RSS readers.

  30. I have never heard of an RSS Reader. However, i think it is a very useful and effective tool. Especially for us journalists. I like how it sort of filters the content for you. I like how you can subscribe to a particular blog and that way the information is always coming straight to you, that saves a lot of time.. This method seems more efficent and informative than sites like Twitter and Reddit. Im really excited to learn more about RSS Readers and what more i can get out of it.

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