Monday, February 27, 2006

The Politics of RSS in West Virginia

How powerful is RSS? Powerful enough to overcome traditional political boundaries in West Virginia. Although many readers of Phil Kabler's Febuary 20, 2006, edition of the Statehouse Beat likely skimmed over the item below, it was quite interesting to those fascinated by the growth and power of RSS technology.

West Virginia has a Democratic controlled executive and legislative branch and is well known nationally as being a Democratic state. However, the current Democratic administration is using a largely Republican owned and controlled media group, West Virginia Media Holdings owned by Bray Cary, to distribute news via the states official website at "" The reason? RSS technology and the fact that only one media group in West Virginia has incorporated RSS technology.

I suspect that the Charleston Gazette, the states Democratic focused newspaper, took note of this item in Mr. Kabler's column and will begin incorporating RSS technology news feeds. The Gazette staff has been experimenting over the last year with a number of blogs in its entertainment section called The Gazz, however, most of the blogs don't have easily accessible RSS feeds allowing easy syndication and reading via an RSS reader.

Below is the excerpt from Mr. Kabler's Statehouse Beat column:
A reader notes that if Internet users click on the “WV News” icon on the homepage of, the official Internet portal for the state of West Virginia, it takes them to news updates broken down by regions of the state — all from Bray Cary’s West Virginia Media affiliates.

Manchin spokeswoman Lara Ramsburg said that’s not because of any arrangement between the state and West Virginia Media, but because the news sites are the only ones in the state using RSS XML technology.

While it was beyond her ability to explain, and mine to comprehend, that technology apparently allows the news feeds to be updated on the site automatically.
UPDATE: Hmmm . . . maybe RSS features will be added to the Gazette Gazz blogs.

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