Local RSS: What do the leading regional newspapers offer? - Part 2

Martin Belam  by Martin Belam, 3 December 2008

Yesterday I had a look at the RSS provision of ten of the UK's leading regional newspapers. Today I want to continue looking at the newspapers that make up the rest of my regional 'top twenty'.

RSS swatch

Birmingham Mail  Birmingham Mail

The Birmingham Mail offers a range of nearly 200 feeds, which can be found by visiting the site map. The main feed is auto-discoverable from the homepage, but the RSS logo in the top-right of the page leads to information about all of the site's feeds, not a specific feed for that page or category. You don't seem to be able to subscribe directly to a feed without visiting the site map.

Birmingham Mail RSS Links

Eastern Daily Press  Norwich Eastern Daily Press

The EDP24 site does have RSS feeds, but they are not auto-discoverable. On the homepage there isn't any link to an overview of the RSS provision, but there are RSS logos under the news, sport, entertainment and business sections.

EDP24 homepage panels

Yorkshire Evening Post  Yorkshire Evening Post

Likewise, there isn't much of a hint that the Yorkshire Evening Post makes content available in RSS. The main feed is not auto-discoverable, and the RSS logo is tucked away in the footer of the homepage.

However, it transpires that the paper makes a whole host of feeds available in different syndication formats. There are over 200 feeds to choose from, and they are available as RSS, as Atom, or as a JavaScript snippet to include the headlines in your own site.

Yorkshire Evening Post feed formats

Portsmouth  Portsmouth News & Sports Mail

Like the Yorkshire Evening Post, portsmouth.co.uk is a Johnston Press Digital Publishing site, and has the same RSS set-up. The only route to RSS seems to be the small logo in the footer, but once you find it, a multitude of feeds and formats are available.

This Is  This is...

On some sites, like 'This is Leicestershire', finding the RSS feeds on a 'This is...' is a matter of looking in the 'I want to' panel. Selecting 'I want to set-up an RSS feed' takes the user through to a page explaining RSS technology.

Other sites in the network, like This is Staffordshire, which represents The Sentinel online, feature an RSS promo puff box on the homepage.

Staffordshire RSS Promo

All of the 'This is...' sites offer a range of feeds, including those geographically centred around smaller sub-sections of a site's catchment area. However, it also looks like their CMS auto-magically generates RSS feeds for any old category stuffed into their database, which is why This is Hull and East Riding, for example, has multiple feeds just called 'news' as well as a feed for the 'To dump' category.

Hull's dumpdump RSS feed

However, just because they all offer feeds, doesn't mean you can find them. On the This is Nottingham site I can find the list of RSS feeds because I can guess that it will be in the same location as it is on the other sites in the network. On the Nottingham site itself, though, I can find no reference to RSS feeds at all, or any link to the page that lists the feeds. They appear to be there as an 'undocumented feature'.'

None of the 'This is...' sites make their feed auto-discoverable to a browser from the homepage.

Aberdeen Evening Express  Aberdeen Evening Express

The Aberdeen Evening Express offers RSS feeds that are auto-discoverable from the homepage, and promoted as part of the site's left-hand navigation.

Aberdeen Evening Express navigation

Teesside Gazette  Teesside Evening Gazette

The Teesside Evening Gazette offers RSS feeds via a site map page like the Liverpool Echo and Birmingham Mail. There doesn't seem to be as many feeds from this paper though - not every section of the site generates one. Curiously, that included the main news section.

Teesside RSS List

Table of features

Here is a table of the features I found across the 20 regional sites I looked at. It indicates which feeds carried images, which were auto-discoverable, and shows that none of the newspapers are trying to monetise their RSS feeds with adverts. Equally, none of the sites is offering a 'full fat' feed containing complete articles.

    Title RSS Full fat Headline & summary Headline only Images Auto-discovery Adverts Range of feeds RSS page
Manchester Evening News Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Several RSS page
West Midlands Express & Star Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Several RSS page
Liverpool Echo Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 200+ RSS page
Aberdeen Press & Journal Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 1 RSS page
Belfast Telegraph Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 85 RSS page
Glasgow Evening Times Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 0  
Dundee Courier & Advertiser Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 0  
Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Evening Chronicle Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 200+ RSS page
Shropshire Star Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Several RSS page
Leicester Mercury Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 97 RSS page
Birmingham Mail Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 167 RSS page
Norwich Eastern Daily Press Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 4  
Stoke & Staffordshire - The Sentinel Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 195 RSS page
Hull Daily Mail Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 50 RSS page
Nottingham Evening Post Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 109 RSS page
Yorkshire Evening Post Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 217 RSS page
Portsmouth News & Sports Mail Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 208 RSS page
Aberdeen Evening Express Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 29 RSS page
South Wales Evening Post Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 144 RSS page
Teesside Evening Gazette Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 93 RSS page

Next...

Next in this rather loose series of articles I'll be looking at subscription numbers for the main feeds from each of these papers.

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