Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Is the news industry ready for another pivot to video?
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.
Show tags
 
Join the 60,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Is the news industry ready for another pivot to video?
Aggregate data from 47 countries shows all the growth in platform news use coming from video or video-led networks.
Many people don’t pay full price for their news subscription. Most don’t want to pay anything at all
Is increasing subscriber numbers by offering people rock-bottom trial prices sustainable?
What’s in a successful succession? Nonprofit news leaders on handing the reins to the next guard
“Any organization that is dependent on having a founder around is inherently unsustainable.”