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April 15, 2009, 7 a.m.

At last! An RSS feed for those gems on the left rail of Romenesko

I hope it won’t seem desperately lame to reveal that I have long craved an RSS feed for the left rail of Romenesko. You see, two or three times a day, everyone’s favorite media-news crier posts a quick, little story outside his main feed. These are often the most interesting articles he posts — as well as a sanctuary from the drumbeat of layoff reports that clog the rest of Romenesko nowadays. But since nearly all my news consumption occurs in Google Reader, which requires RSS, I’ve been at a loss.

I’m not the only one. In 2005, Matt Thompson, currently a fellow at the Reynolds Journalism Institute, constructed what I believe to be the first RSS feed for Romenesko’s left rail and updated the feed a year later. At the time, Thompson’s co-blogger Robin Sloan channelled my feelings exactly when he wrote, “OMG I n33d my RomenRSSko rail-items NOWZ0R!!!!1.”

Alas, Thompson’s efforts were for naught when the Poynter Institute redesigned its site, slipping us all back into the dark ages. I tried building a new solution, but failed.

Which brings us to yesterday, when I finally voiced my frustration on Twitter: “If someone created an RSS feed for @romenesko’s left rail, I would be forever in your debt. I’ve tried; it’s complicated.” Some 24 hours later, Derek Willis, a developer at The New York Times, replied, “something like this?” It was a Romenesko left-rail RSS feed!

Willis said the feed took him about ten minutes to build and posted the code so that others could make improvements. Needless to say, if you do play with the code or build a better feed, feel free to drop it in the comments.

I could say a few words here about the wonder of crowdsourcing or the power of RSS. But let me just offer my praise — and, of course, eternal gratitude — to Derek, who has fed the addictions of media geeks everywhere. And, once again, here’s the RSS feed for the left column of Romenesko. Enjoy!

POSTED     April 15, 2009, 7 a.m.
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