ABC (RSS) Feeds The News

20 11 2011

As you would expect with a large broadcast network like ABC News, typing their name into a Google web search brings up their website in number one position.  Not only are you supplied with the link to the home page, but also to “World News with Diane Sawyer,” “Good Morning America,” video, news, politics and a hurricane tracker.  There is also a link to two news stories, but neither of them are current.  One is an investigation into battery chickens from one day ago and the other is about Joe Paterno’s lung cancer from two days ago.

By just typing “News” into a Google search, ABC News drops down to second position behind CNN.com.  A difference between ABC News on this Google search and CNN above them, and MSNBC and Fox News below them, is the other three sites all have links to recent stories underneath the links to the actual home pages.  ABC News only has the link to the home page.  If I had done this Google search looking for news, I would probably have been more inclined to go to one of the other websites through one of the current headline links if one of them caught my eye rather than just go blindly to ABC News.

RSS feeds are not given huge prominence on the ABC home page.  They are promoted along with the social media icons in the bottom half of the home page.  They employ the traditional orange RSS feed logo, which appears fourth after Facebook, Twitter and Google+.  When you go to the RSS feed page, before you can even select one there is a FAQ section about RSS feeds which would indicate they still aren’t totally widespread in their use.  Despite this, ABC offers a vast number of RSS feed options, split into news feeds (from politics to travel to ESPN sports), most popular feeds, video feeds and blog feeds.  This wide variety means the user can really tailor their feed to exactly what they want.

In terms of news aggregators, you have to do a bit of digging on a news story to find them (well I did!!).  I only found them by accident, located underneath the story headline by hovering over a plus sign, which could have been for anything.  Here you have the option to share or bookmark the story, with the most popular sources of aggregation listed (like Delicious and Google) as well as a further option to list another 334 sites – the majority of which I didn’t know even existed.  However, at least ABC News gives you the choice (if you can find them)!!

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6 responses

21 11 2011
ysalimi

I looked at ABC homepage and I didn’t see a huge contribution to RSS feeds, which is fine with me because I don’t even use them. I couldn’t find much about it on my news organization either.

21 11 2011
jessefeld

I find what you did with that google search to be very interesting. I agree and think that if I were looking at that I would also chose a link to a story, rather than to a home page of a news site, no matter what the site. This is why I believe that aggregators are more useful to the reader.

21 11 2011
joet228

I like what you brought up about how what you search in Google determines what position they come up in search results. I feel like this could be a better angle for news organizations to fight against news aggregators than copyright infringement. When we use Google, we normally click on the first things that we see, and that could determine which place get more ad revenue. Thanks for bringing that up.

21 11 2011
Dorothy Montague

Monday, November 21, 2011

It seems to be a trend with many of the news sites we have been analyzing that although they may have RSS feeds available, they may not be advertising them as well as they could. This seemed to be the case with your site, a national news organization and mine as well (WVLT, a locally based news organization). I’m assuming that this lack of advertising (or sometimes access) to the site’s RSS options are due to the fact that the tool is only more recently gaining the widespread popularity among users that it needs to be successful. I feel as though we can always easily find the icons for Facebook, Twitter, email, and so forth, though the RSS icon is not always as obvious or well placed on the site. As the use of RSS continues to grow I expect that this issue will begin to resolve itself in one way or another.

21 11 2011
emeewes

What do you think about the hyper-localized and ever-more specific searching that Google is providing? (E.g., location based searches, prior searching history, website history, etc.)

I feel like there is certainly a balance that must be sought or certain stories and results will get lost in such narrowing searches.

21 11 2011
gfisken

To be honest, I’m not really sure. It is impossible to know exactly what Google are doing with their searches in terms of what information they are using and how regularly they are changing them.

The problem is, a balance probably won’t arise because that isn’t in Google’s best interests. Whether a credible alternative manages to evolve to compete with them, we’ll have to wait and see.

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