Mainstream News Outlets Start Linking

Good for them, at least ten years late, but better late then never.

NBC hopes to benefit from the same user behavior. Beginning with its Chicago affiliate, WMAQ, on Monday, the company will turn its TV station Web sites into full-fledged city guides. John P. Wallace, the president of NBC’s local media division, said the partnerships with content providers and the links to third-party sites will “tap into our communities much deeper than we have been able to historically.”

“It’s a change in mindset,” he said. “We’re looking at the fragmented local market and saying, ‘We’re going to provide a destination where you can come and search across different segments.’ ”

Brian Buchwald, the division’s senior vice president for local digital media and multiplatform, said the move amounts to an acknowledgment that local television stations must do more online than merely regurgitate their newscasts online. “We need to be a lot more than just TV stations if we’re going to be relevant,” he said.

NBC’s local media operation has hired about 55 people to create original content and filter the Web. A test version of the Chicago site last week linked to The Chicago Sun-Times, USA Today, TMZ and the local blog Chicagoist. The sites do not distinguish between the articles written by their own staff members and the links to outside sites.

“If we can provide them great content, that’s wonderful. If it comes from somebody else, that’s fine, too,” Mr. Buchwald said.

As simple as that sounds, it represents an attitude shift. While linking to other sources is not a new occurrence by any means, it can still seem misguided to journalists who work vigorously to break a story ahead of other news outlets.

Mr. Karp believes the use of blogs by news organizations has helped newsroom managers accept that filtering the Web for visitors is a valuable editorial function. For bloggers, linking to original reporting, primary sources and discussions about stories is a form of etiquette, assigning credit to others who have written about a topic.

[From Mainstream News Outlets Start Linking to Other Sites –]

Now, if only the Chicago Tribune would start to use permalinks, and open up their archive to articles from their long history. Even if it is only for subscribers, like Harpers, The Nation, and The New York Times (and others) do.

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