Govt press offices just don't get RSS

Ever wondered why there are so few RSS feeds around Whitehall? I discovered today that several major departments have actually been offered the option of having RSS feeds, but have so far declined.

GNN is the Government News Network – a rather grand title for the relatively small centralised team, based at COI, which sends out press releases on behalf of most government press offices. They also have an online service, whereby they will provide an ‘online press office’, rather than individual departments having a ‘news’ area on their own website. The term ‘white label’ is used, although since there’s a huge GNN logo on each page, I’d say ‘cobranded’ was more appropriate. Some examples: DH, MOD, DBERR, DFT.

As an additional service, GNN will also create an RSS feed. But so far, as I understand it, none of their clients have chosen to pay the (nominal) extra fee for this. Surprisingly, I’m told none of them have seen any value in having it. I can only assume this is because they haven’t actually tried using RSS themselves. Maybe if someone told them they could have instant alerts as soon as the BBC website published a story which mentioned any of their ministers, it might be a different story.

5 thoughts on “Govt press offices just don't get RSS”

  1. Sounds familiar. The word ‘blog’ can be very emotive! I tried something similar recently and resorted to something like ‘moderated, author led discussion platform’. Doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue does it?

  2. Aargh, looking at two of your posts at the same time! As for GNN RSS, I went down this route a long time ago. They don’t exactly promote the service to departments and I gave up trying to get it implemented and went and set my own up.

  3. Funnily enough I was talking to someonr from the COI the other week and told them that of all the sites that ought to be RSS enabled it should be GNN. Perhaps unsurprisingly/reassuringly the Communities site is one of the better ones!

  4. Oh yes…. another bugbear of mine is that the site is also devoid of RSS (or at least was last time I checked). RSS for this site would be incredibly useful instead of having to rely on inbox clogging email updates!

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