Through the side window with RSS

A story from the Associated Press has some great sound bites from mainstream media and others about RSS. All the quotes are from US media but the points they’re making would be valid anywhere today:

Jim Brady, executive editor of The Washington Post‘s website: "When we all started this 10 years ago, we wanted to be the one and only place people come to. These days, the Post is happy simply to be one of many sources checked daily." He sees his home page as a starting point, and during the July 7 bombings in London, the Post even linked to the BBC, something unfathomable a few years ago.

Neil Budde, general manager for Yahoo News: "In this world where people are looking for multiple points of view, if all you’re giving them is your view, … they are going to leave anyway and maybe be less likely to come back."

Ross Settles, vice president of strategy, Knight Ridder: Knight Ridder considers tools like Google News and Topix as "nothing but incremental traffic from people who might not have otherwise seen the site."

‘Blogging pioneer’ Dave Winer: To stay relevant, online news sites must ultimately overcome their reluctance to point elsewhere: "The reader wants lots of sources and doesn’t particularly care whether you point offsite or onsite. They just want the story."


[…] According to Nielsen/NetRatings, Yahoo News had 24.9 million visitors in June, more than any single news outlet on the Internet, and only MSNBC and CNN had more visitors than AOL News. Google News ranked 13th among news sites.

At The New York Times‘ Web site, referrals from RSS feeds account for only 2 percent of traffic but represent the fastest growth – 8.5 million page views in June compared with about a half million in late 2003.

JD Lasica succinctly sums it all up at the beginning of the AP article:

The old idea of surfers coming to your Web site and coming to your front door, that’s going away. People are going to come in through the side window, through the basement, through the attic, anyway they want to.

Associated Press | Online News Consumers Become Own Editors

I received the AP’s story in my RSS reader. That’s another significant change in the news distribution landscape. Until not that long ago, the only people who could get the news directly from news distribution organizations like AP, Reuters and others would be other organizations like the mainstream media, major corporations and government. Now, anyone anywhere with an RSS aggregator can simply subscribe.