Way back, when I was still working at Citytv in Toronto, I sat briefly near the part of the newsroom we called the “Feed Room.” This was an alcove about 10 feet wide that featured at least a dozen television monitors and nearly as many videotape recorders. Its purpose was to monitor all the international coverage from CNN, Reuters and other satellite news services. The feeds producer had the task of trying to keep tabs on what was beaming out on all the various services and aggregate the most important clips for that night’s news.
This past session in my Learning in Digital Contexts class at Brock University we were introduced to RSS feeds and how they can serve as our personal feeds producer. Of course, I was familiar with RSS feeds and their purpose, but I had never really explored their use or put much thought into how they could manage my own digital reading habits.
As a self-confessed news junkie, I constantly troll websites and continually log on to my favourite digital newsrooms in search of the latest updates to stories that I am interested in. Often there is little new and I find myself wasting time that I should probably be dedicating to work or my studies. Through my new Google Reader account and Feedly I’ve now found a way to quickly and conveniently take a peek at all the latest news of interest in one organized location.
I think this new addition to my Personal Learning Environment will greatly enhance the efficiency of my digital life and perhaps give me more time to explore issues related to work and education that I might have otherwise missed because my focus was elsewhere at the time.
If I could recommend just one my new RSS feeds to friends it would be the New York Times Lens Blog page where some of the most powerful and progressive photojournalism is displayed on a daily basis. This site and its feed provide a window into worlds and cultures very far from us that are now just a click away.