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New York Times: good and bad links

? BW Magazine Story about Twitter |


| Knowing and forgetting ?

March 25, 2007

New York Times: good and bad links

Stephen Baker

Why don't other New York Times columnists (and other media, for that matter, including us) follow Frank Rich's lead and link to outside sources? Rich links as though he's writing for Wikipedia. This makes his columns great resources, whether you agree with them or not.

But sometimes links are just bad detours, linking for the sake of linking. I was just reading an editorial in the Times. It says:

The confession became the butt of editorial cartoons, like one that showed the prisoner confessing to betting on the Cincinnati Reds, and fodder for the late-night comedians.

If you click to the Cincinnati Reds, you get news on the baseball team, not the cartoon. It's a waste of time for most readers. (I just looked for the cartoon. Couldn't find it. How do you search for something like that?)

11:32 AM

mainstream media

Sounds like they may be using auto links in that case where whenever a certain phrase/name (company, stock symbol, etc) shows up, the backend system turns it into a standard link from a list. Saves the writers a lot of time. Works fine for some things but not in this case.

Posted by: PXLated at March 25, 2007 03:25 PM

Then again, as Frank Rich's column is behind the cost-wall of Times Select, some of us don't get to experience his linking talents.

Posted by: Rex Hammock at March 25, 2007 03:45 PM

Lots of larger sites/news organizations automatically link to their database whenever a term from their controlled vocabulary is used in a story or article. It's another one of those places where a human review might head off something like what you ran into, but it's probably cost effective.

Posted by: Wally Bock at March 25, 2007 04:18 PM

"Why don't other New York Times columnists (and other media, for that matter, including us) follow Frank Rich's lead and link to outside sources?"

Because then all the readers will click on the links and leave the NYT's site and never come back, of course!

This is a classic sign of an organization that doesn't 'get' social media. When I started blogging, one of the first things I noticed was that bloggers were linking to other bloggers/sites. And yes, my first thought was 'Why in the world are they linking to other sites? All they are doing is encouraging people to leave their site!' Eventually, I figured out that it's about giving the reader better and relevant (as you point out) information. If you do that, the reader will come back.

But many in MSM haven't figured out that it's not about them anymore, it's about us.

Posted by: Mack Collier at March 26, 2007 10:28 AM

Once I read a Frank Rich column, and I got him him confused with Mark Rich. Still can't tell the diff..

Posted by: Gray at March 26, 2007 01:24 PM

Gray, I understand your confusion. Both Riches, Frank and Marc, are extraordinarily clever. And compared to the average Joe, they're both wealthy and widely reviled, one for crimes committed, the other for politics. Those similarities aside, I'd much rather hang out with Frank.

Posted by: steve baker at March 27, 2007 02:58 PM

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