The Personal Technology column in WSJ discusses the basics of blogs and newsreaders:
If you’re an information junkie, you’ve probably discovered the appeal of reading weblogs, those online journals that mix commentary with links to related sites. Obsessive blog creators scour the Internet for interesting tidbits in news stories, announcements and even other blogs, culling the best and posting links. A good blog is like the friend who always points out the best stories in the newspaper.
Rather than forcing you to jump from one blog to another to keep up with new entries, newsreaders bring together the latest postings from your favorite blogs in a single place.
That’s possible because many blogs now publish their entries as news “feeds.” These are Web formats that make it easy for a newsreader program (or another Web site) to grab and manipulate individual postings. For a blog publisher, it’s like sending out entries on a news wire service. To tell whether a site offers a news feed, look for a small icon labeled “RSS” or “Atom.”