A publication of the World Editors Forum


Fri - 19.01.2018

The reluctance to link a workflow issue?

The reluctance to link a workflow issue?

Ever since newspapers started publishing content on the Internet, the question of whether to link to external sites or not has been repeatedly raised. As other parts of the web are more willing to link, the absence of links on some news sites is becoming increasingly glaring.

Some argue that not linking is against the fundamental nature of the Internet as a network. Moreover, citing original sources surely would bolster any news organisations credibility.

Recently, this question was brought up by Doc Searls Weblog, who asked simply "Why not link to sources?" Searls regarded the lack of linking to external sites as another example of mainstream media's "passive-aggressive approach to the Web" - as a proof that they aren't willing to adapt to the Internet but hold on to old ways of doing things.

The post aroused discussion on Twitter, summarised by both Mathew Ingram and Alex Byers.

Kevin Anderson weighed in on the issue, suggesting that links are mostly absent on newspapers' websites because of a problem of workflow. The content management systems at most newspapers are still print-centric, making them cumbersome for more modern purposes.

Anderson noted, however, that dated workflows are only one half of the issue: if more newspapers thought of linking as essential, they would have updated their workflows or worked out other ways to solve the problem.

For some numbers on how different sites use links, see this article on Nieman Journalism Lab.

Sources: Doc Searls Weblog, Mathew Ingram, Alex Byers, Strange Attractor, Nieman Journalism Lab



Teemu Henriksson


2011-05-19 18:44

The World Editors Forum is the organization within the World Association of Newspapers devoted to newspaper editors worldwide. The Editors Weblog (www.editorsweblog.org), launched in January 2004, is a WEF initiative designed to facilitate the diffusion of information relevant to newspapers and their editors.

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