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CNN News Plugin

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Displays news items from selectable CNN News RSS feeds, inline, as a widget or in a theme. Multiple feeds allowed. Caching…..


Version – 2.6

Description :

CNN has a number of RSS feeds with current news available, on a number of topics. This widget allows the WP admin to select which feed, how many items to show from that feed and optionally set a widget title. If no title is selected, the name of the feed is used. The feed is fetched for every view, so users are guaranteed up to date information. No local storage of feed is done. Clicking on a news item will of course take you straight to the relevant article at CNN, as per CNN Terms of Use.

This plugin works both as a widget, as inline content replacement and can be called from themes. Any number of inline replacements or theme calls allowed, but only one widget instance is supported in this release.

For widget use, simply use the widget as any other after selecting which feed it should display. For inline content replacement, insert the one or more of the following strings in your content and they will be replaced by the relevant news feed. For theme use, add the do_action function call described below.

  1. <!--cnn-news--> for the default feed
  2. <!--cnn-news#feedname-->

Shortcodes can be used if you have WordPress 2.5 or above, in which case these replacement methods are also available.

  1. [cnn-news] for the default feed
  2. [cnn-news name="feedname"]

Calling the plugin from a theme is done with the WP do_action() system. This will degrade gracefully and not produce errors or output if plugin is disabled or removed.

  1. <?php do_action('cnn_news'); ?> for the default feed
  2. <?php do_action('cnn_news', 'feedname'); ?>

Enable plugin, go to the CNN News page under Dashboard->Settings and read the initial information. Then go to the CNN News page under Dashboard->Manage and configure one or more feeds. Then use a widget or insert relevant strings in your content or theme.

Additional information:

The available options are as follows.

Name: Optional feed name, that can be used in the widget or the inline replacement string to reference a specific feed. Any feed without a name is considered “default” and will be used if the replacement strings do not reference a specific feed. If there are more than one feed with the same name, a random of these is picked every time it is used. This also applies to the default feed(s).

Title: Optional, which when set will be used in the widget title or as a header above the news items when inline. If the title is empty, then a default title of “CNN News : <region> : <feed type>” is used. Note that as per CNN Terms of Service it is a requirement to state that the news come from CNN.

Feed: A dropdown list of the current feeds provided by CNN. This list is hard coded into the plugin, presumably CNN does not change the list too often. The [INTL], [MONEY] and [SI] after the feed name indicate that the feed is from CNN International, CNN Money or Sports Illustrated respectively.

News item length: Short or long. The short version is really just the news item title as a one liner but probably the one most WP admins will use. The long version is the title followed by a 3-4 line teaser. For the short version, the long text is available as a mouse rollover/tooltip.

Max items to show: As the title says, if the feed has sufficient entries to fulfil the request.

Cache time: The feeds are now fetched using WordPress builtin MagpieRSS system, which allows for caching of feeds a specific number of seconds. Cached feeds are stored in the backend database.

Clicking on a news item will of course take you to the relevant article at CNN, as per CNN Terms of Use.

If you want to change the look&feel, the inline table is wrapped in a div with the id “cnn-news-inline” and the widget is wrapped in an li with id “cnn-news”. Let me know if you need more to properly skin it.

Note that if you get the message “CNN News unavailable” then the WordPress internal RSS feed fetcher failed to get the feed. Reasons for this are firewalls blocking outbound traffic, CNN RSS being down or feed missing/wrong URL. Try again with a different feed to see if that helps.

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Installation :

This section describes how to install the plugin and get it working.


  1. Unzip into the /wp-content/plugins/ directory
  2. Activate the plugin through the Dashboard->Plugins admin menu.
  3. See configuation pages under Dashboard->Settings, Dashboard->Tools and on the widget page.

Screenshots :

  1. cnn-news screenshot 1Widget in action under the Prosumer theme. Note the mouseover showing additional text from the news item.
  2. cnn-news screenshot 2Small part of the admin Manage page for the plugin.
  3. cnn-news screenshot 3Inline example under the Prosumer theme, replacing <!--cnn-news--> in content.
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