Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
The New York Times is digitizing more than 5 million photos dating back to the 1800s
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
March 31, 2009, 8:27 a.m.

Do you have “links to nowhere”?

A quick thought that can’t fit into 140 characters, but isn’t quite a full blog post: Just because your online news story has words with blue underlines, that doesn’t mean you’re linking.

I was reminded of this by my local paper‘s online edition which — at least a little unintentional irony — today features a story on how journalism students are learning the new digital tools of the trade. Amid a sea of robolinks — automatically generated links to so-called Topic Pages (SEO-bait, really) — I noticed this:

johnharrisstrok

Of course they’re not really tracking John Harris editor of the excellent Politico. The Chicago-centric publishing system used by The Sun is tracking John Harris, former chief-of-staff for former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. It’s a seemingly small error, but when more relevant terms in the article aren’t linked, it chips subtly but surely away at credibility with readers, especially digital natives, conversant in the language of linking.

Local newspapers can’t automate their way to success. Linking matters, and it takes humans.

POSTED     March 31, 2009, 8:27 a.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 50,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
The New York Times is digitizing more than 5 million photos dating back to the 1800s
“Ultimately, this digitalization will equip Times journalists with useful tools to make it easier to tell even more visual stories.”
Facebook Groups are “the greatest short-term threat to election news and information integrity”
Plus: How “junk news” differs from “fake news,” and LinkedIn gets less boring (but not in a good way).
This Spanish data-driven news site thinks its work goes past publishing stories — to lobbying the government and writing laws
“You feel all this knowledge would be useful for something, for trying to change something.”