Newspapers Should Ask Google If Linking To Other Sites Is A Good Business

from the it-is dept

It's no secret that newspapers have had to be dragged kicking and screaming onto the internet. Many of their more ambitious online undertakings have simply been attempts to apply the old model of distribution to the digital space. And while some of their moves, like closing off access to archives, seem downright baffling, it's interesting to get the perspective from those operating inside newspapers. A reporter at a paper in Missouri writes to Poynter Online, discussing an internal debate that her newspaper had over whether to include external links to stories in other publications. Ultimately, the higher ups decided against it on the view that they might confuse readers, or imply some sort of free advertising for a competitor's content. Needless to say, this is the attitude that holds newspapers back. The ability to link to another source is what makes reading content online more dynamic than reading it on paper. And while some may see links as offering free publicity to another site, it's should be viewed as a way of making the originating site that much more useful to readers. What's funny about this debate is that newspapers won't hesitate to link elsewhere on a reporter's blog, as if somehow the ideas of good online journalism are totally different when done in blog format. Ultimately, newspapers need to realize that there's no contradiction in acknowledging useful content elsewhere and making their own sites valuable.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    AC, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 4:49pm

    Practice what you preach

    I almost find this post amusing - of the links in this posting, ONE of them points to something other than previous techdirt postings.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous of Course, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 5:30pm

    Be invisible on teh intarweb- let me show you how!

    Forbid google to crawl and index your web pages.
    This is especially useful for catalogs.

    What are they thinking... if it's not google-able
    it doesn't exist.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 5:54pm

    Re: Practice what you preach

    Its an old techdirt tradition. The articles are written in such a way to maximize self-linking opportunities. Youve got to give the guys credit, this practice requires constant ingenuity. And here we are, after all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    WtfPeople, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 5:54pm

    hrm...

    why does everyone seem to say THE intraweb? ... is this the new byword of the month or something? i've seen intraweb thrown around left and right completely out of context... while you hit it pretty close mr. of course, it would be *your* intraweb... not *the* intraweb... here... ... "the web" or world wide web (yea, remember that thing?) and an intraweb are not the same thing... i've seen people use intranet in place of internet as well... yea, intranet sounds cooler... but intra and inter are two different prefixes... take a freakin' latin course or get a dictionary at the least.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Jake, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 6:13pm

    Um... I don't see anyone saying that but you.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 6:17pm

    The New York Times logo of "ALL THE NEWS Thats FIT TO PRINT" is not true and has never been True. It is print to fit along Their way of Thinking. And if NYT ever linked to a Comprtitors story, you can be sure it would along the same lines in way of thinking. All the mover and shakers of the world read and quote from the NYT and that is why things in this World of OURS are so Screwrd-UP.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    mark evans, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 6:19pm

    newspapers online

    it is puzzling why newspapers are still grappling with the web - 10 years after the web hit the mainstream. readers and advertisers are moving online, so newspapers better figure out how to deal with the new reality and do it soon. this is not to say newspapers will disappear but they will have to offer different types of products to different audiences.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 6:23pm

    Re: Jake

    i can only assume you're talking to me about my intraweb rant. are you blind or just retarded? maybe typos are too much for your tiny brain to comprehend... read the subject line two posts above my other post, jackass.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 6:37pm

    What is holding back the newspaper business in general are the unions. They won't let companys no matter how big such as Hearest Corp. move forward to Upgrade their press and mailroom equipment because it would reduce the labor force that is paying the high union dos that support god knows what. They threaten to walkout and close the place down at the first sign of improvments.They are the last big hold out of hardline unions in America but they are starting to run sceard cause the wrighting is on the wall . Circulation is way Down and Advertisment revenu is going with it. Soon the papers are going to close and they are all set to blame it on the Internet,CNN , and other modern news media.--I DON'T THINK SO. Ask anyone it the Paper Business. They all make 85-100 grand a year on the low paying jobs like straping bundels in a Mailroom.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 6:38pm

    What is holding back the newspaper business in general are the unions. They won't let companys no matter how big such as Hearest Corp. move forward to Upgrade their press and mailroom equipment because it would reduce the labor force that is paying the high union dos that support god knows what. They threaten to walkout and close the place down at the first sign of improvments.They are the last big hold out of hardline unions in America but they are starting to run sceard cause the wrighting is on the wall . Circulation is way Down and Advertisment revenu is going with it. Soon the papers are going to close and they are all set to blame it on the Internet,CNN , and other modern news media.--I DON'T THINK SO. Ask anyone it the Paper Business. They all make 85-100 grand a year on the low paying jobs like straping bundels in a Mailroom.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    bart, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 6:39pm

    hey now

    bombardment bombardment bombardment

    look it on the intraweb..

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 6:52pm

    Re: Practice what you preach

    No, you obviously haven't read techdirt long enough. They do link, but generally there is a previous article or related article that further summarizes first. So quick to criticize, yet no depth or thouroughness... that's very good, I can see you can advance far.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 7:03pm

    What happens when you ASSUME ? Can anyone tell me?

     

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  14.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Aug 30th, 2006 @ 7:28pm

    Re: Practice what you preach

    I almost find this post amusing - of the links in this posting, ONE of them points to something other than previous techdirt postings.

    Since we focus on short blog posts, we link back to previous stories to add more background without having to rewrite that background info. However, we *always* link to external sites, whenever appropriate -- and usually as the main thrust of a story. So, it's hard to see how you could claim that what we're doing is in any way similar to newspapers refusing to link to other sites at all. Almost every single post here links to other sites. Count the number of external links on the front page and then explain how that's similar to a newspaper refusing to link externally.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 9:28pm

    Re: hrm...

    Get it straight already..

    quit reading that damn latin and take an intarweb course already. The word is INTAR not intra.

    And yes, people say it cause it makes them happy. No other reason. Don't tell them to stop, they're not hurting anyone or anything.

    Except for language nazi's, noone is confused.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    andrew c., Aug 31st, 2006 @ 4:02am

    newspapers linking

    Great post. You all would be surprised at how often newspapers pool resources offline. Inform.com is the first company that I have seen providing external related links to newspapers as a service. It will be interesting to see if they gain traction.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Insaniac, Aug 31st, 2006 @ 5:31am

    can you read, Jake?

    Read the second post!! It's right in the subject. Why does every illiterate misfit think they can just scan the material and then pose as an indisputable expert? It's sad and demoralizing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Insaniac, Aug 31st, 2006 @ 5:39am

    Re: Re: hrm...

    No....the word is not intar, you moron. It's intra. Next time you open your mouth i hope someone with more sense than you tells you to shut the hell up. It's self-absorbed pseudo-braniacs like yourself that force the rest of us to dumb down otherwise intelligent conversation.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    smarty, Aug 31st, 2006 @ 6:28am

    Re:

    Ooooooohhh! I know I know!
    You make an ass out of u & me! I just learned that the other day, ain't I smart?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 31st, 2006 @ 7:38am

    Re: Re: Re: hrm...

    no, really, YOU wrote INTRA. everyone else is writing INTAR. ITS NOT A TYPO: ITS YOU.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Shohat, Aug 31st, 2006 @ 7:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: hrm...

    Actually , its :
    TEH INTARWEBS.

    All caps .

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Look it up, Aug 31st, 2006 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: hrm...

    Actually a little wiki research reveals neither of you were wrong or right.


    "Interweb, sometimes deliberately misspelled intarweb, intraweb, or interweeb "

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interweb

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Stephen Larson, Aug 31st, 2006 @ 12:20pm

    And while some of their moves, like closing off ac

    The reason for cutting off access to the archives is that the large db vendors like lexus/nexus pay more for the rights to archives if they are not available to the public for free. Just last year it was said that the NY Times Digital Division would have a loss if they didn't count this Lexus/Nexus type revenues. Probably it is still that way.

    Why smaller papers are following the lead of the NY Times is what is really baffling, they get nothing from Lexus/Nexus. Our small newpaper customers charge for the current edition and leave the archives open to the public. This protects their newsstand sales and print subscriptions (people have to pay for NEW news in print OR the internet) but they get the advantage of assuring when people use google to research issues they cover, they'll find stories in the archives.

    See "New Subscription Method"

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Eff, Sep 2nd, 2006 @ 1:17pm

    ummm...what was that subject line, Stephen?

    Sorry, it looked like the subject of the spam I get.

    Now lets see, ok, if we can next get past the self-promoting portion of your post, maybe we can get to the heart of this.

    The reason smaller papers should not leave their archives completely open to the public is:

    1) There is often great profit to be made in selling archives, both in print and online contexts. Whether they are the NYT or one of your "small newspaper paper customers", please do not diminish the value of their content. As you must know, archive searches are one of the most popular functions of the newspaper website. Considering this, how many subsciptions are you losing for your customers by giving this away?

    2) There are ways to have the site be google friendly without giving away the shop - literally.

    3) Unfortunately, the money being made does not justify relinquishing all control of all archives across the board - simply to offer value in the new media. This is not only unjustified, but simply dangerous, as it implies, BOTH AT ONCE, that a) their current content is not valuable enough to attract online readership so you must give the rest away, and also b) that their past content is not worth paying for.

    In order to best serve this industry, the inherent values of the internet must be harnessed and capitalized upon.

    Using the above criteria, it sounds as though your company is instead using the medium to amplify the danger of diminishing the value of content.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 2nd, 2006 @ 3:15pm

    Re: ummm...what was that subject line, Stephen?

    i just get a kick out of the so called NEW subscription model of his - having a link apparently to a 2004 page :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 2nd, 2006 @ 9:27pm

    Re: Re: ummm...what was that subject line, Stephen

    um....how bout the fact that he uses cold fusion? what's wrong? is his frontpage broke?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Nathan, Sep 27th, 2006 @ 8:37am

    Re:

    A bit late in the reply, but mail room people do not make 85-100 grand a year. Certainly not in the company I work for. Very few people at any newspaper do.

    I'm not bitching about pay, but this is just absurd.

    Newspapers _are_ struggling to adapt to challengers when they've been local monopolies. But I'm not seeing unions as holding back the transition. Print may be declining, but it isn't going away. Certainly not overnight. The challege then is to keep the print product compelling _and_ develop a viable online strategy. That's still being figured out, it'll take time to figure out. And yes, adjustments have to be sold to (or negotiated with) employees.

    What I'm not hearing in our newsrooms (anymore) is "the internets are out to get us." It's "how to we build from here?"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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