Using RSS News Feeds
Common Questions and Issues:
- What is RSS?
- What are RSS Readers?
- Where Can I Get an RSS Reader?
- How Do I Use These Feeds?
- Where Can I Get Help with NPR National News Feeds?
- How often are the NPR RSS feeds updated?
- Does my local NPR station offer news feeds?
RSS, which stands for Really Simple Syndication, is an easy way to keep up with your favorite news and information. An RSS feed contains headlines, summaries and links to full news stories on npr.org or an NPR Member station Web site. In many browsers, if you click an RSS link, you will see XML (or eXtensible Markup Language) code in your browser. This is to be expected, since you do not view RSS content through a browser. You view the headlines through an RSS news reader (also called an RSS aggregator). Our main RSS page provides links to our feeds, and you can find them elsewhere in the site where you see the orange "rss" icon.
RSS news readers are small software programs that aggregate RSS feeds and display the story information. They allow you to scan headlines from hundreds of news sources in a central location.
A wide range of RSS readers can be easily downloaded from the Web. Some readers are Web-based while others require you to download a small software program onto your desktop. Most are free to use. We maintain a list of several popular RSS readers on our main RSS page.
The first step, as described above, is to choose an RSS reader. Each reader has a slightly different way of adding a new feed (also called a "channel"). In most cases, here's how it works:
1. Click on the small XML button near the channel you want (NPR Top Stories, for example, or Business News). You'll see a page displaying XML code. (Some newer browsers may also show you the current stories in the feed.)
2. From your browser, copy the URL that appears in your Address Bar. For example, the URL you would copy for NPR Top Stories is: http://www.npr.org/rss/rss.php?catId=2
3. Paste that URL into the 'Add New Channel' section of the reader. You should be all set! The RSS feed will start to display and regularly update the headlines for you.
Hopefully this FAQ page and our main RSS page will answer most of your questions about the national news feeds from NPR.org. If you still need assistance, feel free to contact NPR Online Help.
The NPR RSS feeds are updated constantly throughout the day. Every time a news story is added to our Web site, it will also be added to the RSS feed.
A number of stations maintain RSS feeds of locally-produced content. The best way to find these is by finding your local station's Web site. RSS is a relatively new technology, so not all stations have their own feeds.
If you would be interested in a feed from your local station, please let them know! You can use our station finder to reach your station's Web site, where you should be able to find contact information.