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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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RSS iconRSS? News bits?

RSS, or "Really Simple Syndication," is an automated Web site feature that notifies your audience whenever your site is updated with a blog entry, news or a podcast. The RSS "feed" sends a summary of the new content to the audience, allowing people to keep up with your web site. Some offices use RSS exclusively for all their news output, replacing their old e-newsletters. Others use RSS as a supplement to their printed newsletters.

RSS is all about getting your news and information to your audience. Fresh news makes visitors want to return again and again. The RSS NewsEdit web syndication feature of the template provides you this powerful communication, at your fingertips.

[YouTube: RSS in Plain English]

How to get started

  1. Send an email request to the ITS WebTeam.
  2. Identify your college, department, office or program.
  3. Include the URL of the web page(s) where you'd like to have your news displayed.
  4. When you receive WebTeam permission, you'll access RSS NewsEdit from the myMNSU Portal navigation or the News Editor webpage.
  5. To find the NewsEdit on the MavPortal first click MSU Features to open up the sub items list and then click the NewsEdit link.
    Left navigation
  6. Select your RSS feed name from the list and click the "Update Site Location" button.
    NewsEdit dropdown
  7. A new window will open for you to create a new story. There will be four sample stories to give you an idea of what needs to be added to make a story. The samples are only examples so please create a new story and don't modify the samples. You can go ahead and delete the samples once you have created your stories. If you do modify a sample story the story will not have the correct date. The date does not change every time you update the story. Also, the sample stories will automatically go to the News Archives page. To get these deleted from the News Archives page please contact the web team at

How to make it work for you

  1. Most importantly, have a steady source of news items you can put into your news editor. If you put four or five stories out and then forget it, you've lost an opportunity to communicate with your audience, and trained them not to return to your page.
  2. Length: Write your stories to be 200 words or less. People prefer short stories on the web.
    [Note: if your story needs to be longer to meet your department's communication objectives, then publish the longer story.]
  3. To create a new story, press the Add New Story button. This will open a window for you to start adding the text for your new story.
  4. The article Metadata fields is where you add the text for the Headline, Subhead, Byline, Category, Newsbit Headline, Newsbit Text. These fields are for the abbreviated list of articles on the RSS Feed and for the full article page.
    Article Metadata
    Examples of what each metadata looks like:
    • Headline:

      Compose a headline of seven words or less.

    • Subhead:

      Subhead for Article

    • Byline:

      Byline for Article

    • Category:
      Pick from the dropdown the type of article you are writing.
    • Newsbit Headline:

      Article Headline for the abbreviated version

    • Newsbit Text:
      Compose a short summary of the article that will give enough information about the content to let the reader decide whether or not to click the link to read the entire article.
  5. Next add the text for the full article. For details about the toolbar and how to format your text see the PageEdit instructions.
    Note: To upload pictures follow the instructions on adding an image. There is one added instruction that you will need to do in order to upload a photo successfully. To upload pictures you will have to click the images folder and then browse and upload a picture.
    Images folder
  6. When you are done adding the content for your article click the Finish button button.
  7. After you click the finish button you will see your article in the list.
    Actions, Attributes, Articles
    To make the article display you will have to click the visible checkbox.
    visible box
    If you have set the news items to display on your department website then you will have to check the Frontpage checkbox. If the Frontpage box is not checked it will still display in the RSS feed in the portal. The only way to make the article not display in the RSS feed is to delete the article by pressing the delete button.
    frontpage checkbox
    To change the order of the articles place your mouse cursor over the article you would like to move and it should highlight blue and the four-arrow cursor should display. Next hold down the mouse button and move the article to the desired spot and release the mouse button.
    four arrow cursor and blue highlighted box
    If you have set the news items to display on your department website then you will want to enter a 1 or a 2 in the column box. Column 1 is the farthest to the left. At this time the NewsEdit only allows for a one or two column layout.
    column box
  8. After you are finished updating click the Publish button button to save your attribute changes and publish the results to your newspaper and the RSSfeed.

If you need to edit an article at a later date you can always go back to NewsEdit and click the Edit button. If you update a story we advise you to put the date you updated it in brackets at the beginning of the story "[updated 05/30/2007]."

How to get your news articles to display on your department homepage

If you do not have access to edit the code of your website please contact the webteam at and they will place the needed code on your website so your articles display.

If you have access to your website's code below is the following code you need.

Place the following code any where before <?php place('header'):?>

require_once('/home/www/www/html-root/news/read/storylink.php'); storylinkRSS('its');

Place the following code in content area where you would like the newsbits to display

<?php storylink(); ?>