Religion News Blog tweaks format

Religion News Blog has introduced a new format in an effort to better serve its readers.

As of yesterday our front page ‘News Stream’ now includes links to articles posted not just inside Religion News Blog — but also to items on other websites.

The ‘Full Story’ links for items at other sites are marked with offsite

Both types of links also appear on each topic’s home page.


For instance,

• headlines for items about Islam published at Religion News blog appear on our front page

• headlines for items about Islam published at another website also appear on our front page

• In addition, both types of links also appear on the topic’s home page — in this case the one for News about Islam

That means you can — as before — visit or link to the news category for just the topic of your choice (in this example the Islam news category).

At each topic’s home page you can also subscribe to a RSS news feed with with news items only covering that topic — in this example Islam-related news.

Why we tweaked our format

We listen to reader feedback, and also monitor how Religion News Blog is used.

Where in years past we archived complete news stories, more recently we changed to excerpts-only.

During the past year we also augmented our stories with occasional RNB Roundups in which we provided blurbs and links to religon news items and related resources.

Those Roundups were particularly well received. Yet that format did not allow us to post such stories in a timely manner. Also, items posted in the Roundups were not included on each topic’s home page. Our new approach remedies both shortcomings.

There are other practical reasons as well. For one thing, nowadays news stories are more available — often even long after they were originally published — than was the case just a few years ago.

For another, many newspapers in the U.S. and elsewhere are trying to survive online, and they benefit from having websites such as Religion News Blog link to their content rather than having their content republished.

In our story excerpts we quote enough material for researchers to stay on top of developments or to get a quite overview, while pointing them to the original sources for more information.

More often than not, those excerpts also include additional features: such as a collection of quotes on one topic but from various sources, and/or the inclusion of links for further research.

Our front-page news stream links to sources outside Religion News Blog are for stories we’d normally cover inside — if we had more time and energy…

Meanwhile, our Twitter feed — which can also be viewed at the front page — also provides links to items of interest.

Grab that story

You’ll understand that it pays to read or safe the full stories you’re interested in, at their original sources and in a timely manner. After all, there are no guarantees that the news stories linked to will remain available.

Republish our headlines?

If you publish a website or blog that includes our headlines, rest assured that your news feed will keep working — linking to RNB-selected items both at Religion News Blog and at other websites.

And finally

The publisher of Religion News Blog is deeply grateful for the ‘under the hood’ work performed by his brother — SEO specialist and WordPress wizard, Ruud Hein (who also has a breathtakingly fascinating Twitter feed).

As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome.

About Religion News Blog

Religion News Blog (RNB) is a non-profit service providing academics, religion professionals and other researchers with religion news — with a specific emphasis on news about groups, movements, churches and organizations that have at one point or another been described as cults.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday September 9, 2009.
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