News sites are websites that provide timely news coverage, expert opinion, and other information about recent and important events. They are often affiliated with newspapers, magazines, television networks, businesses, professional associations, user communities, or other entities. There are two basic types of news sites: general and subject-specific. General news sites provide headlines and reporting about politics and government, the economy and markets, consumer technology, and weather and sports. They are designed to appeal to a wide audience, and often serve as extensions of traditional media outlets such as newspapers and magazines. Subject-specific news sites also provide breaking news and commentary, but focus upon a particular and often technical field or discipline. Engineering news sites and science news sites are two such examples.
News sites may provide original reporting, or aggregate content from other sources. For example, news sites that are extensions of television networks may feature news stories written by reporters assigned to various bureaus. These news articles may complement TV broadcasts, or provide original content. By contrast, news aggregators are web sites that capture headlines from other news organizations. They do not write and post their own content, nor are they staffed by news reporters. There are two types of Internet news aggregation: manual and automatic. With manual news aggregation, the website owner scans headlines and selects which stories to post. Automatic aggregation uses algorithms and other techniques to post content without human involvement. News sites that use a combination of manual and automatic methods are also available.
Some news sites rely upon Web visits from registered members who pull content by selecting which stories to read. Other news sites use really simple syndication (RSS) to push headlines, news stories, articles, editorials, blog entries, and other updated content to a subscribed user base. RSS documents or news feeds include full or summarized text, as well as information such as article authorship and publishing date. News subscribers who use RSS readers or RSS-compatible Web browsers can have news stories delivered right to their computer desktops, typically before these same users would visit the news site itself. News aggregators also use RSS feeds, but to pull content that they either publish on their own sites or push to users.
News sites may integrate audio clips, video clips, slideshows, and other multimedia files with text-based stories. Audio clips such as podcasts are designed to be distributed over the Internet for playback on personal computers (PCs) or mobile devices such as cell phones. News sites that feature live streaming video are also available. Additional news site features include access to archives and user forums, email accounts, and special offers. By registering and creating a profile, a news site user may be able to obtain personalized content about subjects of interest.