I noticed last week that the local paper here in Cairns, The Cairns Post is now on the Internet. I thought cool, I’ll head on over and check it out. I was not surprised to see that the site fails to provide any sort of RSS Feed.
I am not suprised because it is a newspaper site. I do not think these companies want you reading their content from elsewhere. Ultimately they want you to buy the paper! They also have employed other tricks such as giving you snippets of a story, headlines only, editorial comment eluding to other content. Of course to get this other content you have to get the actual paper.
It makes economic sense for newspapers to push their paper in hard-copy. But I think they are fighting something they don’t need to. If they do not embrace new technologies they are going to be abandoned. By their very nature they are behind, even television is to some extent, I get the news for tonight’s news as it happens – via RSS. Newspapers can be up to 12 hours behind and sometimes more. Newspapers need to get creative about how they are going to use new technologies while still maintaining their market share.
So why don’t newspapers evolve their content? What if I did not want to get the Cairns Post delivered but “purchased” an RSS feed? Make the feed cost less than the hard-copy would and offer things that you can’t get in the paper, like comments or something. I am sure that this could catch on. Especially if the price is cheaper. There is also the environmental considerations such as saving paper.
But until that happens I am not about to visit every newspapers website to see what they are up to. They are indexed by Google and I subscribe to Google News anyway and I can get the headlines from there via RSS. Or why not get a news alert for your local area? Sure I like the paper but I would sure love to get it electronically as well or instead of. Plus I hate the way they are rolled up when they are delivered, really hard to read and I can not be bothered flattening it out.