Jan 172011
 

Google links to 6,597 articles related to the three stories atop Google News this morning.

Google News top stories Jan. 17, 2011

  • In the Wall Street Journal article about Jobs medical leave, you won’t find a single link to the other 174 articles that Google has found about the story.
  • If you read the Associated Press article about the Golden Globe awards you’ll see that the AP doesn’t think any of other related 4,448 articles that Google found are worth linking to.
  • The Fox News article about President Hu’s meeting with President Obama also fails to link to any of the 1,972 links related to that story.

I’m not saying that news organizations should link to thousands of other articles at a time, but wouldn’t it be a great service to the reader if reporters and editors pointed to those articles that would help provide a more comprehensive picture of the story?

A well picked set of 5 (pick your number) related stories could be more useful than the thousands of results that Google returns.

If you don’t already have them in your bookmarks, make sure to visit Mediagazer to see how computers and human editors can work together to provide great sets of links about  a niche topic.

  2 Responses to “Google gives readers 6,594 more links than 3 news organization”

  1. Totally agree with you. One of the anti-linking arguments I ran into recently, though, is that if a link turns out to contain bad/incorrect information, the news organization linking to them may be partially liable.

    This isn't my argument, but the logic passed on to me was basically, "If we link to them, and they're wrong, we provided wrong information to our readers and we don't want to endorse anything that we haven't confirmed independently."

    I don't agree with that rationale, but I also find it difficult to argue with.

  2. Well observed. "Traditional" print media outlets that have made the move to online seem almost pathologically determined not to link out to other sources. On numerous occasions I have even encountered news stories focused on a website that don't contain a link to it. Crazy.

    There are some notable and laudable exceptions. Perhaps because it has always been an online publication, Huffington Post has always being generous in its outbound linking (indeed, it in part depends on partnerships with other online publications for its reach). The New York Times has done pretty well, you'll find more links in columns and blog posts than in their news stories (Frank Rich could be the poster child for how to embed useful links in a column). And, of course, the BBC in October 2010 revised its linking guidelines to encourage deeper links of more relevant quality, and aims to double the amount of outbound links on its site by 2013.

    Interestingly, the BBC guidelines encourage authors to "[a]void linking to news stories and link to 'useful stuff' – analysis, explainers, Q&As, pic galleries etc." (source: guardian.co.uk). To Paul's point, to which in part speaks, I don't find the rationale that linking may lead readers to "wrong information" at all that difficult to argue with. Outbound linking in context is not the same as link curation, and even less so source vetting. Links provide value to readers by allowing them to explore related resources; whether or not those resources are accurate should be left to the determination of the reader, and not he or she who embeds the link. Caveat emptor.

 Leave a Reply

(required)

(required)

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>