Friday, April 04, 2008

Newspapers and links

On a topic I've posted about for years, great article in Slate by Jack Shafer, Links that Stink. According to Shafer, many newspapers and other sites' links lead to irrelevant pages, popup ads, or don't link at all:
The extraneous links etched into most stories, for example, make it look as though an insect rode a unicycle dipped in blue ink through the copy before you got there.
There's no point in having links unless they point to something that's relevant. Which leads to another point:
Why doesn't every newspaper Web site routinely link directly to the competition's work? If a competitor's story is good enough to cite in the copy, it's good enough to link to.
Of course, for years I cringed when a great story in a competing paper was never even mentioned in the paper I read. Thank goodness they at least get mentioned, but, really, the link is important.

Once again: Links make you relevant. Links are the currency of the Web. If people know your links help them find information they need, they will keep coming back to you.

(Added later:) On a related note, Joel Achenbach attacks the Alterman New Yorker piece. The Next Big Career Move [Updated] [Again!] Wonderful:
...let's talk about the general plight of all those middle-aged newspaper reporters out there who, at the age of 47, are just barely too young to get the buyout offer...Here's my secret road map for the newspaper profession: Do great journalism....HuffPo has been a huge success (and you know I'm in awe of Arianna), but seems to me it was hardly the first group blog...

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