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Missing links in newspaper web stories

A rousing hear, hear to Rob Skinner who, in his Ertblog, bemoans the lack of links on the Guardian site to outside sources. My feeling is that linking to source material increases credibility. Most people are not going to wade through a 100 page report or the full text of a John Prescott speech so I doubt that links will drive visitors off the site, but it is nice to be given the chance.

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  1. Michael Kenward says

    When organisations and web sites do provide external links, it is always frustrating when they land on a home page rather than any specific page.

    There are times when this makes sense, but when the link is attached to a story about, say, a report from a Select Committee of the House of Commons, I want to land on the report, not Parliament’s less than transparent front page.

  2. Robin Hamman says

    We (the BBC) still have, I think, some way to go with our linking out.

    When people come looking for something and we don’t have that content, that person is going to go off to another site anyway, so we might as well provide the link that gets them to where they need to go. This way, the next time they are looking for something they’ll know they can depend on us to get them there.

    As for links from content, for example a news article, linking out helps our audience to explore issues further and – as Andrew says in his post – lends credibility by making our sources open to scrutiny. But we could go further by linking out to blogs and other sites containing alternative viewpoints or different analysis of events or issues. In my opinion (not necessarily that of my employer), that’s when our online coverage becomes truly unbiased, open and fair.

  3. Rob Skinner says

    Glad you feel the same way. By contrast, I’ve always been impressed by the BBC’s policy of giving links to websites of organisations mentioned in stories. Rob

  4. Michael Kenward says

    Agreed. I have lost count of how many times I have had to get Google to find stuff that should have a link from The Guardian’s pages.

    If the BBC can do it, why not the Graun?

    Is it really because they are afraid of taking people off site?

  5. Kristine Lowe says

    I was heartened to see the debate about media’s missing links over at Wordblog. The lack of links in newspaper articles is something that annoys me constantly, especially in stories based on statistics, where I find myself wondering what the sample was or if they were measuring the

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