Hyperlinked Journalism

It’s no secret that newspapers today face tough challenges. They must figure out how to profitably report the news in an era when the news itself instantly becomes a commodity, re-syndicated out to the Internet at large.

Ian Betteridge picks up on this trend, building on the following quote from an interview with Monica Guzman.

I’m convinced that newspapers need to rise up and take responsibility not just for the quality of the news, but for the quality of the conversation.

Betteridge makes a succinct observation that I find interesting as a computer engineer.

This is totally true, and actually reflects a significant change in what a news story … actually is. Rather than think of a story as a single finished article, think of it as part of a network of the story, it’s comments, and the comments and posts that it spawns across the web.

A story is no longer a single page: it is a network of pages.

Jeff Jarvis refers to the two stages in this transition content economy and the link economy. Old media companies must find a way to transition into the era where hyperlinks tie the story together. He gives the following imperatives.

1. All content must be transparent: open on the web with permanent links so it can receive links.
2. The recipient of links is the party responsible for monetizing the audience they bring.
3. Links are a key to efficiency.
4. There are opportunities to add value atop the link layer.

The self-publishing tools brought about by the Internet are incredibly empowering. Be it news and opinion on blogs to classifieds on craigslist, its never been easier for people to make themselves heard. As traditional publishers deal with these challenges, the entire system gets stronger and more accountable.


Lonna Hanson
July 29, 2008 at 2:33 PM

I have also heard about the struggles of self contained newspapers. I know that the Madison Daily Leader is still owned by the family that started it many years ago. They have not been bought by larger newspaper chains. It has to be a business nightmare. You brought out some great points.

Post a comment