Major News Feed Competition

Until recently, I subscribed to two feeds from major news media: the BBC and CNN. The BBC is generally a good-quality feed, although its bias is now world-famous and a lot of its news is a bit too British for me (such as, for example, the gushing soccer and cricket headlines). But CNN’s feed is downright annoying.

To illustrate, here are four headlines CNN gave me this morning:

  • “Clinton to have surgery to remove scar tissue”
  • “Clinton to have follow-up to heart surgery”
  • “Clinton to have follow-up to heart surgery” (yes, twice)
  • “Clinton faces new surgery”

When I look at my CNN feed and see in the neighborhood of 20 to 30 new posts, and half of them are repeats of the same story, I tend to just skip the feed entirely. The BBC does this too, but much less often.

Also, I see from the headlines that our government is calling for the dissolution of the IRA in Northern Ireland. But when I click on the headline, here’s the summary I get:

Read full story for latest details.

They do this for what seems like nearly half of their stories. Again, the BBC is much better about this; the summaries they provide are always informative.

What to do? Enter Fox News. I must have missed the announcement of their RSS feeds, but I check the big news outlets regularly for alternatives to CNN, and today’s check revealed a RSS link that I hadn’t noticed before. It’s early to say, but Fox looks promising: no zero-content summaries, and very few stories in the first pull. Plus, Fox content acts as a much better counterbalance to the BBC.

Despite the accusations of bias, Fox is now the number one news channel in the US. Part of that success comes from addressing a vacancy in the news market for conservative bias, but part of that also comes from execution: they’ve been able to do the news better than anyone else. We’ll see if that extends to their Internet presence.