Google Alerts Drops RSS Delivery Option

Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land points out that Google Alerts Drops RSS Delivery Option, which is pretty upsetting. The message says that “Google Reader is no longer available,” and says users need to switch to email alerts.

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Seems that Google is either just dumping RSS wholesale or that the feed engine that ran the RSS alerts was part of the Reader infrastructure. (You can still subscribe to Google News alerts by RSS, and news search terms, it seems, so I have no idea what the link is.) 

As commenters point out, this is going to break a lot more than simply Google Alerts. A lot of websites embedded feeds into their sites using Google RSS alerts:

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It’s an odd state of affairs for Google, which either didn’t anticipate the backlash or is so intent on chasing Facebook that it doesn’t care.  

Another option suggested by commenters: Talkwalker Alerts – The best free alternative to Google Alerts. It even looks like Google Alerts: 

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Haven’t tried it but seems to offer the goods. 

Citizen Photographers Get Their Own Agency

Fueling the discussion about whether it’s ok for citizens to take photos of their fellow citizens’ suffering and makemoney from it, welcome to Scoopt: the citizen journalist’s photographic agency, selling mobile phone and digital camera pictures to the press and media:

Who will take tomorrow’s front page photograph – a professional press photographer or a passer-by armed with a cameraphone?

Virtually everybody now has a mobile phone, and virtually every mobile phone now comes with a camera. Britain on Britain supplementThis means that somebody, somewhere is in a position to photograph just about anything that happens on the planet.

If you photograph a newsworthy event, you could have a valuable scoop on your hands. Scoopt represents you, making sure the right people see your photo and ensuring that you get a good deal. Scoopt is simple. Scoopt works. Above all, Scoopt works for you. Join Scoopt today. Snap… Send… Sell…

With another major security alert in London going on as I write, it’s timely.

I know I’m fence-sitting, but I don’t have a view on this yet. It’s hard enough as a journalist being in the middle of carnage or lynchings and not doing anything about it, so I’m not one to throw stones. I suppose you do hope that in the situation you’re able to do both: chronicle the situation for a wider audience (think of how useful those moblog pictures of those caught inside the Underground helped us understand how awful it was for them down there, an empathy that will help unite citizens in grief, horror and determination to thwart the terrorist’s aims) and then help. But I know that’s easier said than done.

(Thanks, Graham. )

News: Could Blogs Be The News?

 It’s a familiar theme, but Steve Outing is always interesting to read on anything, so when he takes a look at how blogs could change news reporting, I’m all ears. His latest column suggests that, “It’s time for increasing the speed of news sites — to that of television news — and Weblogs are the way to do it. And it’s time to stop thinking of blogs mostly in the realm of feature and opinion content, and move the concept into breaking news.” Interesting angle. I certainly think news organisations must take blogs more seriously, and realise that it’s no longer enough to file stories through traditional channels, in traditional ways.