Linking adds to learning not to length

27 Feb

Linking is becoming an everyday activity for social media users. If people read an article they like they post it to Facebook and they tweet out the link to a photo that makes them laugh. Most people today are familiar with the way information is shared online. So, journalists need to take advantage of the internet-savvy audience of today and use links to tell interesting and complete stories.

Some news sites are quicker than others to recognize the importance of linking, and they are creating policies that encourage linking rather than keeping it the taboo it used to be  . One main shift in the way news companies think originated from the success of search engines. The theory goes that search engines constantly send people to sites other than their own but people return because they get quality information. News companies want the same relationship with readers. If readers know they can get the full story from a particular site with just a few clicks to other conveniently displayed sites, then readers will start to rely on the main site to keep them informed. Connecting readers to helpful sites will make them value you more and create a better more well-rounded story in the end. Linking is connecting the internet  for the good of all  readers. The New York Times actually has an entire blog dedicated to giving readers background on their stories through links.

However, there are a few pitfalls to linking journalism which writers must be careful to avoid. If a link is added to a story, the writer must be sure it is an appropriate link. Linking to commercial sites or sites with questionable content reflects poorly on the original site. Another problem comes from failing to link. Linking is becoming such a common way to share information that sites pay close attention to who attributes them for the information they found originally, who links to them for it and who is simply ripping them off. When using information from another source linking is a simple and courteous way to give credit to the original reporter and is an important step in keeping good relations in the journalism industry.

There are a few different ways  that journalists can place links into their stories. Linking directly in the text is becoming the most common way, but it is not always the best option. Now that more sites are taking advantage of linking, it is important to figure out the best ways to link effectively . The type of link and where to place it in the story depends on the type of story. If a story is more facts and hard news, placing links that are more traditional in a list at the end, a more traditional format, will be most effective. However, if the story is less linear or needs more in-depth explanation placing links with more background information directly into the texts is the best way to tell the story.

Linking is an easy way to give readers the full story without bombarding them with facts they don’t care about or already know. But linking should be done thoughtfully. Placing only the most relevant and interesting links in intelligent locations on the webpage is a skill journalists must develop overtime.

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