by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jun 23rd 2009 11:53pm
Bijan Sabet is asking a good question. It's one that's been asked plenty of times before, of course, but it remains relevant: why do so few newspapers ever link off of their site? He points to recent articles from the NY Times, the Boston Globe, the LA Times and the SF Chronicle, and notes that none of them have links to outbound sites. Some of this is due to a confused view of the web, that you never want to send people to another site, because (incorrectly) that means fewer page views on your own site. Of course, that ignores the fact that sites like Google have made quite a nice business out of sending people to other sites -- a business those very same newspapers are all quite jealous of. And, it also stems from the old line belief that the job of a newspaper is to tell you "everything you need to know," so why would you ever admit that there may be other sources of value? And, of course, that's why some people are getting sick of newspapers. Plenty of other online sources have learned that linking to others is an important part of the conversation, as is allowing readers/users/community members to explore the story themselves -- and to contribute to it. I still find it amusing when someone follows a link I've posted and then adds some interesting perspective/data point/fact and claims that they've somehow "caught" me making an error. That's part of why I post the links in the first place -- hoping that readers will continue to dig deeper and figure out more of the story and contribute and add to it. It's too bad so few newspapers feel the same way.
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