Want to be the first to get ESPN.com's headlines as soon as they are published? Want to find a way to save time if you read many websites? This FAQ will show you how, and will answer some of the common questions about ESPN.com's new news feeds.
A news feed (also known as an RSS feed) is a listing of a website's content. It is updated whenever new content is published to the site. News readers "subscribe" to news feeds, which means they download lists of stories at an interval that you specify (every 30 minutes, for example), and present them to you in your news reader. A news feed might contain a list of story headlines, a list of excerpts from the stories, or a list containing each story from the website (ESPN.com's news feeds contain story excerpts). All news feeds will have a link back to the website, so if you see a headline / excerpt / story you like, you can click on the link for that piece of content and will be taken to the website to read it.
Step one is to download your favorite news reader. If you have never used one before, try installing one of the news readers mentioned below and see which one you like.
Point your news reader to the addesses below for each feed you want to subscribe to.
Top Headlines: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/rss/news
NFL Headlines: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/rss/nfl/news
NBA Headlines: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/rss/nba/news
MLB Headlines: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/rss/mlb/news
NHL Headlines: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/rss/nhl/news
Motorsports Headlines: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/rss/rpm/news
Soccer Headlines: http://soccernet.espn.go.com/rss/news
College Basketball Headlines: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/rss/ncb/news
College Football Headlines: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/rss/ncf/news
Action Sports Headlines: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/rss/action/news
Poker News: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/rss/poker/master
ESPN Latest Videos: http://sports.espn.go.com/broadband/ivp/rss
Bill Simmons Columns: http://search.espn.go.com/rss/bill-simmons/
You can access any ESPN.com columnist's feed by replacing firstname-lastname in the following URL with the columnist's first name, a hyphen (-), and last name:
You can find a complete list of ESPN.com feeds over here.
A news reader (also known as a news aggregator) is simply a piece of software that you can use to read your subscribed news feeds. It is to news feeds what Outlook, Hotmail, and Entourage are to email.
The short answer: it depends.
The longer answer: if you visit a lot of websites on daily basis, or read a lot of weblogs (or "blogs"), a news reader can save you a lot of time. Sites like ABCNews.com, Salon, and the New York Times all have syndicated feeds.
Using a news reader to consume your web media means that you only need to visit a website when you read a story in your news reader that is of interest to you. You won't have to visit many sites multiple times every day to see if there are updates; your news reader will do that for you and will let you know when there is a new story to be read!
So if you visit a lot of websites regularly, or want to be alerted automatically when your websites publishes a new story, using a news reader might make sense.
You can find even more news readers at itopik.com.
Depending on whom you ask, the acronym RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication", "Rich Site Summary", or any of a handful of others.
The meaning of the acronym is not terribly important, however. An RSS feed (also known as a news feed) is a site's syndicated news feed that you subscribe to using your news reader.
Syndication refers to the process that occurs when a publisher provides content in a form that can be consumed by software (like a news reader).
The concept is similar to email: your Yankees-hating buddy Bob (the publisher) writes you an email about Derek Jeter's partying habits (the content). Your favorite email program (the software) receives the email, and probably alerts you with gentle "You've got mail!"
With a syndicated ESPN.com feed, it works like this: ESPN.com (the publisher) publishes a story about Peyton Manning and Steve McNair sharing the NFL MVP award (the content). Your favorite news reader (the software) sees that ESPN.com has published a new story, and probably alerts you with a flashing icon on your screen.
There is a thorough explanation of syndication at Dynamic Objects.