UMd. Study: RSS Feeds Poorly Designed by Media Outlets, NY Times Among the Worst
A new study by my alma mater, the University of Maryland, looked at the online divisions of 19 major traditional print and broadcast media:
... to see which ones gave the users of their RSS feeds the same number of stories, the same range of news sources, in as timely a fashion as could be gotten if those users went to the individual website.
The Los Angeles Times, ABCNews.com, and Foxnews.com fared among the best RSS providers while the New York Times was among the worst. But the bottom line, the study concluded, was that:
... if a user wants specific news on any subject from any of the 19 news outlets the research team looked at, he or she must still track the news down website by website.
The main reason? The paucity of information RSS feeds give the reader:
All the RSS feeds from the news outlets previewed their stories with a headline and a line or two of description, but very few of the outlets gave additional important information: the date the story was from, the story’s byline (author) and dateline (where the story originated), and the time the story was posted. Those are all essential bits of information that might well help users decide if the piece is of sufficient value to click on and go to.The University's International Center for Media and the Public Agenda scored the reliability, inclusiveness, key information, and timeliness of the RSS feeds analyzed. A chart comparing them on these criteria can be found charted here.