Link You Huskies, Link!
[W]e scruffy bloggers…are greeted with great skepticism because we are unregulated, uncredentialed, and in some cases pseudonymous, so we also must go to great lengths to document our findings. Luckily, the technology that gives us such amazing instant access to reams of information also gives us the ability to link directly to our source material — as Arianna once described it "showing our work." And over time we gain credibility with our readers the same way that newspapers do.
If there was one thing I would say to print journalists trying to ease themselves into the internet era it would be LEARN HOW TO LINK YOU BASTARDS.
It drives us CRAZY and fuels much scorn when nobody in the MSM seems to realize that this possibility (let alone this necessity) exists. And I don’t mean some auto-generated Yahoo link to the word "Pentagon" like nobody knows what it means. I mean if you talk about Karl Rove’s first appearance before the grand jury, and six months ago your own publication wrote an article about that very event, you link to it. It’s not hard, you probably looked at it when you wrote the piece in the first place.
Reading an article on the AP or the UPI or the WaPo or the NYT or Time or Newsweek is often an exercise in complete frustration for a blogger because you know you’re going to have to go dig up all that shit yourself when the writer could so easily have done it. Linking builds up an architecture, it allows you to cover only what is actually NEWS without having to restate so much that is already known. If somebody doesn’t know the history, they can jump through to a link that recounts it. And once several levels of posts exist that do just that, people can keep going back — six or seven layers deep — until they explore all the aspects of the story that they are interested in. It’s an extremely efficient way for someone who has never explored a topic before, or who just hasn’t been keeping up recently, to acquaint themselves rather exhaustively without boring the tits off everyone who just wants the update.
What do they do instead? They recap. Oh that’s a killer. You scan some new article and the first three paragraphs gives the "news" (such as it is) and then they start the deadly RECAP. Nothing that a simple link couldn’t facilitate for the curious. And then just when your eyes are glazing over from reading a rather shallow synopsis of something you already know quite well they throw in some actual NEWS but by then you aren’t paying attention and you go over to Needlenose and Swopa is and you think SHIT how did I miss that.
For all the bitching about scruffy unwashed bloggers we DO show our work, and if you think we’re building a house of cards well it will immediately become apparent if the links go to dubious and discredited sources. I just don’t understand the reticence of MSM journalists to do this. Do they think it’s a clerical task somehow beneath them?
You would think the NYT in an effort to peddle their firewall crap would be linking the bejesus out of their archives both as a practical and a financial matter. That AP and UPI would sign some kind of deal with Yahoo to link back to newswire articles appearing on their site. That they’d do something about link rot to keep the links from going sour. It’s absolutely neanderthal and all the bitching about bloggers sounds quite hollow and Damon Runyon-esque coming from people who have not caught on to this simple fact of life in the 21st century.