LA Times Refuses to Hyperlink from Articles

It seems ludicrous to me that in this day and age of technology, a major media outlet like the LAT doesn’t know how, or simply refuses, to link to websites they mention in their articles. I am guessing this has something to do with their outdated cumbersome publishing platform, because they do link on their various blogs. The reason I am posting this, is because Eric Richardson has been covering the whole APT debacle for the last 6 months on Blogdowntown, and although he gets two lines of coverage in the article LAT finally wrote about the APTs, they didn’t hyperlink to his article or website. Seriously though, what are you guys thinking?

26 Replies to “LA Times Refuses to Hyperlink from Articles”

  1. Just a hunch but my guess is they are trying to limit the number of outclicks to maintain a certain level of pages viewed or similar to get ad revenue.

  2. Actually, I’ve been annoyed by the Guardian (UK) for the same reason… the above mentioned reasoning makes more sense than the other excuses I’ve heard.

  3. That doesn’t make sense at all, I mean that may be how they feel, but outbound links don’t decrease your page views. People don’t link away and never come back, that’s what the back button and tabbed browsing is for.

  4. they’re probably using an archaic system for dumping text of their print articles onto the web that requires gymnastics that not every reporter has even bothered to learn in order to embed links in articles.

  5. I’ve actually worked on the system back when I did a bit of moonlighting there during the Iraq invasion.

    Sure, the dead-tree editorial system pipes copy straight into the site CMS, but the CMS does allow HTML – like, uh, links.

    It’s probably a matter of policy or (shudder) a workflow decision. They’re consciously not linking much. Either way, they’re obviously turning off users.

    I’d be interested to see a Times editor jump in here and explain a bit.

  6. While it doesn’t help for the general principle of the thing, I’ve found that it’s very easy to get greasemonkey to convert all non-active text of urls into live hyperlinks. Saves a good deal of copy-and-pasting from sites like the Times.

  7. perhaps they are reluctant because some on the staff will be more link savvy – and more link happy – than others. i could see this leading to a problem where how much of an article gets outbounds put in it becomes an editorial question. (not to mention requiring more editorial oversight in the process).

    i don’t necessarily expect the news articles on the online forum for a print publication to contain links anyway. sometimes, i’d rather they not. the sf chron doesn’t – with the exception of on-line only columnists, blogs, and the infrequent posting of links at the bottom of an article in a “for more information” capactiy – which seem a bit arbitrarily included.

  8. Dave,

    I’ll repost your question on my blog and see if it generates any interest. As most of us know linking sources generates additional traffic, if the software does not allow links it’s time to upgrade to a program that does.

    Ed from the Los Angeles Times Pressroom

  9. Are you serious CD? You don’t like links to supporting information in your news articles? I can’t possibly see why. That’s the beauty of html, the ability to link directly to supporting content from any written reference to said content.

    And thanks Ed, you’re spot on about it generating traffic.

  10. They’re lack of linking is just another sign that the organizational structure of newspapers (not just the “dead tree” factor) is getting leapfrogged by the internet.

  11. It is a bit of a pain. I was reading a Calender Live story last week about female deejays, and all of them have myspace pages….I wanted to go check out their pages, but none were linked! So I had to copy and paste each one. Bleh.

    I do think it has to do with the CMS, though. My work (cbs2.com) doesn’t really allow for links either, unless the producer actually hardcodes it in. And not everyone on my desk is html savvy.

  12. Mack has first hand knowledge that they can easily add links. So yeah it’s not that they can’t do it, it is that they don’t want to.

  13. It would be interesting to find out if this is policy, one way or another.

    Then the next problem will be when they have to create a policy as to what is too much, or too little, linking to sources.

    I’m relatively link happy, but as a blogger I have less esteablished credibility than the a journalist at a major media organization.

    Regardless, it seems like common sense that if you mention a website, you should link to it.

  14. As stupid as this is I’m not sure why anyone is shocked by it. Anyone who was around in the lat 90’s web world remembers the talk of “sticky eyeballs” (no that’s not a bukkake reference) and how to keep people on sites longer. It was common place for content sites to refuse to link off for fear of losing all their traffic. Of course that was all proven wrong but would it be any shock that some major media folks, who regularly miss the boat on all kinds of online existence issues, never got the memo on this. Not that we shouldn’t be heckling them to the point that they do figure it out, but it shouldn’t be surprising that they haven’t yet.

  15. Oh I’m not surprised at all, I’m just fed up with it and I thought this would be a good forum to express my annoyance. Hopefully this post will be a catalyst for change, but I’m not expecting that to happen.

  16. Linking is good. Loved the bukkake reference at least you made staying on their page sound like fun for a few extra seconds. I needed that smile today.

  17. Yes, I was serious. Still am.

    1.) The LAT’s job isn’t to pimp for bands with myspace pages. You can google or search up their spots yourself.

    2.) From the Times’s perpsective, they’d probably rather not link, because it would be a very visual indicator that a lot of their reporting is devoid of analysis or weighing of source credibility – already too much political coverage alone consists of “Well, Candidate A’s press releases said X. Candidate B said Y” with no work done past repeating what others say.

    3.) To whom do you link? For some article, pointing to source material directily is going to be an editorializing decision. It *may* force some more love shown to blog sources. But for the most part, I think it screams corporate synergy for a lot of outlets.

    I’m just not 100% behind the notion. I don’t think it’s crazy.

  18. CD:

    1. Wow funny thing, I thought the LAT’s job was to inform. If they’re writing about bands why not link to their websites?

    2. I really don’t follow your logic there, in this case they specifically mention a blogger and his blog, what part of that would show that they haven’t dony any analysis or weighing of source credibility?

    3. You link to people whom you reference in your articles. Especially when you say on his blog, or on this website.

  19. I’m not a newspaper. I’m a blog. (this is a blog, I’m a blogger, etc.) If I wanted to be a newspaper, I would be. It’s a different medium. One needn’t be the other.

  20. Linking is not blog specific. Their website is not a newspaper it is a news website. Websites link, that’s that point of the web.

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