The more that I subscribe to RSS feeds and consume “content” via RSS feeds in apps such as Flipboard or Zite the more aware I am becoming of the article author(s). This is compounded by following more journalists on Twitter and seeing their Tweets promoting their work that reinforces for me the connection between them and their content – I am finding this a useful filter for sources such as the Guardian where I tend to look for the author by-line before reading the article.
However, there appear to be a lot of unsung journalists who do not receive any attribution in a “formal” by-line or if they are attributed there is not link to find out more about them and maybe “follow” them on Twitter or other social networks.
In terms of identity Twitter has become the default social profile for journalists taking far more prominence over LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+. For TV news the @handle is the simplest and most effective to convey and newspapers are even curating pages dedicated to their journalists like The Times Twitter Directory (old version), or Bloomberg who provide profile pages for “Opinion” authors together with embedded Tweets and and RSS feed of their articles (rare to see an RSS feed for Bloomberg!).
RSS is the predominant technical means of syndicating content. RSS feeds comprise of a “channel” section relating to the whole feed (eg “Business news”) “items” relating to each article, these channel and items sections all have “elements” that are used to mark-up and describe the content. From an attribution point of view the RSS <item> element caters for an <author> and suggests usage relates to an email address but also notes that some developers do not use this to avoid spam. Where an RSS feed is published by an individual (as opposed to multiple people publishing items in the same feed) the RSS Advisory Board recommends using the channel managingEditor or webMaster elements. Email address does not seem very “social” for each item and managingEditor or webMaster does not seem very “personal” from an attribution point of view.