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Could I have my RSS as I take my coffee, please? (or why I missed that Telegraph story)

I take my coffee straight: it's one of those instant fixes I'm rather dependent on having available whenever I need it, which, seeing that I work for clients in very different time zones, can be at any hour of the day or night. I do wish those RSS-feeds I'm interested in was available the same way.

Actually, they might very well be: I could have created something a lot more tailor-made than just using a newsreader (still on Bloglines, though I know I should switch) to subscribe to news- and blog feeds on media/tech/business and keywords, but why won't media companies make it easier to find their stories?

Take The Times for instance: they have a good media editor, but no media feed the last time I checked (a while ago. NB: see update below). Or the fact that The Telegraph published a story on David Oddson last night, but didn't bother tagging it as "media", at least it wasn't in my Telegraph media feed this morning, so I only discovered their article by checking my RSS-feed from Roy Greenslade after I'd published my own post on this (I first found the story on Icelandreview after someone googled Morgunbladid and ended up on my blog , which made me do the same to see what was up - Icelandic media being something I've followed for several years).

Actually, I know how easy it is in some CMSs, like Escenic, to not put a story in all the categories it should be in, and I'm also aware that, with Twitter, many people have moved away from using RSS alltogether. I still use it though, in addition to Twitter, to find stories: I still think RSS is the best way to find stories proactively online and to get a good overview of what's being written - and either my newsreader has a major problem, or media companies mess up their feeds all the time. There was a week+ this summer my subscription threw up no stories from The Media Guardian - like, I actually had to visit the site, there's not many sites I'd do that for, to get updates;-) - and I've also had the same problem with The Telegraph's muddled media section (muddled because they mix media with telecoms, cable and wireless).

Also, I no longer get the Observer's media feed until Monday, or sometimes Tuesday, whereas I used to get it just after midnight on Sundays (back when "web first" was a pioneering idea?). And this whole idea of mixing the feed of Sunday business sections with the rest of the week, as at least the Indy and Observer do, seems very odd to me as Sunday newspapers used to be something entirely different than weekday newspapers: different weekday business sections always carried much of the same stories regardless of the newspaper, so subcribing to them all feels close to redundant, whereas Sundays used to aspire to create their very own mix of background/analysis and stories they had chased up/uncovered themselves.

If that was still the case - and I'm not contesting that it is, but my perspective is muddled by relying on RSS only and me no longer living in London - I'd pay for the Sundays rather than the weekday papers. Mind you, I'm speaking only of the UK here, in places like Norway business news sites, such as Dagens Naeringsliv, have even been known to send their whole car sections into their media section feed.

Now, I know I should probably move on to create my own tailor-made feed via Yahoo Pipes or similar, but in these days, where paid content and the question of how news sites may successfully charge their readers, this strikes me as one thing that I, as and expert reader, might actually be willing to pay for: to get the news in my RSS-reader instantly - my experience with Yahoo Pipes is also that there's often a delay - and "unpolluted": only the real stuff, please (or, as a friend often puts it: why ruin perfectly good coffee with milk and sugar). Many news sites muddle their media feeds with other feeds, I assume to bring up the volume, but I'd much rather have e.g. media and technology as seperate feeds so I can prioritise better.

However, I'm very aware I belong to a minority of readers who these days only matter in the link economy. Also, I appologise if this post has been mired with household slang: it's one of those rants I usually censor myself from writing, but any input on how I should best set up my newsfeed would also be welcome. I'm not as much of a techie as I'd like to be though: I accomplish most things I bend my mind to, but my mind is frequently overstretched on the workday treadmill of incesscant deadlines...   

Update 01.10 16:30 CET: Joanna Geary kindly made sure The Times got a separate RSS-feed for its media section yesterday, and I quite forgot to update this post until now in the rush of everything. It has of course duly been added to my newsreader and to this new Twingly channel on journalism and media (in beta) I've been playing around with (I've started adding some of my favourite  UK and Scandinavian media feeds to it, leave a comment, email me or DM me on Twitter, I'm @KristineLowe, if you want an invite).

Iceland's most hated man appointed newspaper editor

Davíd Oddsson, Iceland's longest serving Prime Minister and until recently head of the Central Bank, has been hired to edit Morgunbladid, the country's newspaper of record.

I wonder if ever there was a better trick for loosing readers quickly. In the name of accuracy, it must be said that I am of course aware that there are many contenders for the title "Icleand's most hated man", but The Times has certainly singled Oddson out as possible number one in this respect. During my reporting trip to Rekjavik in December, Oddson, and then Prime Minister Geir Haarde, seemed to be the protesters' main objects of hatred, as this photo I snapped illustrates:


You'll find more of my photos from Iceland here, published under a CC non-commercial share-alike license, though I worked with an excellent photographer, Haldur Jonasson, while there, who took some top photos of Morgunbladid's offices and of former Morgunbladid editor Ólafur Th. Stephensen, who announced his resignation a week before Oddson was named one of two new editors of the daily paid-for newspaper.

Of course, Morgunbladid used to be controlled by none other than Bjørgolfur Gudmundsson, and its main rival, Frettabladid, by Baugur's Jon Asgeir Johannesson - cross-ownership and close ties between top politicians, businessmen and the media seems to have been the norm rather than the exception in Iceland - but one would have thought that financial meltdown and all that was reevealed in its wake had changed this.

Apparently not. One journalist I talked to likened the country's media to a bad soap opera; it seems we are are up for a whole new set of episodes.

The Icelandic Weather Report has more on the story.

 Source: googling "Morgunbladid" and finding Icelandreview's articles on the story, as linked up in this post, because someone else googled Morgunbladid and ended up on my blog.

"There are no conferences for fax machines"

I loved this wry blog post from The Oxford Social Media Convention by John Kelly, whose blog from his year in Oxford  I really enjoyed. Here's a highlight:

"I think my favorite observation came from Bill Thompson, a BBC tech columnist and all-around digital gadfly. When speaking about his work with computers (as a student at Cambridge in the 1980s), he said that computers weren't all that interesting or exciting to him. They were just what he did. "Social media is not there yet," he said. 'Which is why we can fill a room with 350 people. There are no conferences for fax machines.'

"His comment underscored the relative newness of things such as Twitter and Facebook and how we're still trying to work out how to integrate them into our lives. I don't think there's anything wrong with that--with pausing to reflect--despite the insistence of some new media prophets who think anyone without an iPhone in each hand and a touch screen on each wall is some lesser form of life.....'

Do check out the full post. Now, I'm painfully aware that my own blog has gone very quite as of late: it's been almost a month since my last update, which is a record of sorts for me, but it's all due to some exciting projects I've been working on lately. I'll get back to those soon, but thought this meta-perspective on social media conferences was a good way to break my blog block. Kelly's post, found via an update from Kate Day on Twitter, also reminded me to replace his Oxford blog with his Washington Post blog in my newsreader - which I should have done ages ago.