Monday, December 17, 2007

If you write about blogs, link dammit

Continuing evidence that the New York Times still does not totally get it when it comes to online. (And if the Times is held up as one of the exemplars of this business, what does that say about too many of the rest?)

Maria Aspan writes today's Exhibit A: At Web Site for Journalists, Criticism of a Campaign Article Becomes a Melee.

It's a story about how a Boston University professor and former Washington Post stringer criticized not only an article about Barack Obama and the "Muslim" rumors surrounding him, but the 27-year-old reporter himself, suggesting the reporter had been mainstreamed onto the political beat too early. (Interestingly enough, it wasn't the first time the Post had approached the issue. A Jan. 23 blurb by Howard Kurtz had a headmaster of a madrassah denying that Obama had attended. However, the latest story was on the front page.)

In the Times, Aspan details how Jim Romenesko's blog, the Poynter Insitute's one-stop-for-all-the-tawdry-details site about journalism (and a must-read for many, many journalists) linked to the original criticism by BU Prof Chris Daly, setting off a cross e-mail war of postings on Romenesko's site.

So, does Aspan's story link to any of this?

No. The only links we get are insipid ones to the Times' own canned profiles of the Post, Boston U. and Obama.

So let's all repeat again: If you are going to publish online, and especially if you are going to write about online things, then you are expected to link to them so that your readers can check it out for themselves.

Yes, this is harder than just having a few insipid machine-generated navel gazing links appear in the middle of a story. It might actually require an editor/producer to think about what the story says and include the relevant links. That's part of the online landscape. Learn to deal with it.

(Update: A friend at the Times informs that those links were not machine-generated but were put there by a real editor. Not sure what that editor was thinking ...)

(At Media Nation, Dan Kennedy gives you some other links the Times doesn't.)

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