I subscribe to a number of RSS feeds coming out of our great nation’s White House. However, I can’t help but continue to notice that these feeds are really poorly implemented. Often they come with only a headline and no body whatsoever.
Presidential speaches usually include a link to an MP3 of the speach in the RSS item body–which means that Google reader embeds a flash player so I can listen to the speach right from the syndication. This is actually quite good.
However, for White House News RSS items, important information is left out of the syndication making the items worthless. I finally found the time and nerve to let them have it. Here is my letter to the United States White House web site technical team:
The White House news feed, specifically that at http://www.whitehouse.gov/rss/news.xml often consists of only the headline for major announcements. In order to be an effective RSS feed, it needs to include at the very least 3-5 sentences from the content that is being syndicated.
I respectfully request that you change the White House News Feed to include 3-5 sentences of content with the headline. This will allow US Citizens and those abroad to read a portion of the feed without having to click through unnecessarily.
For example, “Personnel Announcement” is a frequent RSS title without any content. The most recent one should have had included:
“For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 29, 2007
President George W. Bush has nominated two individuals and announced his intention to designate one individual to serve in his Administration.”
This would have made the RSS item far more relevant.
Thank you for your time,
Update: Although I my message was never acknowledged, it appears that the WH website now offers more comprehensive items in its RSS feeds.
You now get 3-5 sentences as I requested, and this change is retroactive through the time when I made the request. Believe me, in June of this year you only saw headlines.