Uses of links by bloggers vs online print journalists

This is pretty obvious but apparently isn't obvious to print media trying to get hep to the whole online thing. From Daily Kos:

Bloggers use links to give readers the opportunity to view their source material. When a blogger makes an assertion, you can typically check the validity of that assertion by following links to that blogger's source, and decide for yourself whether it's been properly analyzed.

When traditional media use links, they tend to point to that media outlet's collection of archived articles on the proper noun they've attached the link to.

So when a blogger says, "President Bush today announced his intention to invade Liechtenstein," that blogger would tend to attach the link to something like "announced his intention," and have it point to a newspaper article or White House press release containing a quote from Bush, saying, "I intend to invade Liechtenstein."

When a newspaper says, "President Bush today announced his intention to invade Liechtenstein," the links are on "President Bush," and "Liechtenstein." And they link to archived articles about President Bush and Liechtenstein, in every other context in which that paper has written about those subjects.


Unless, of course, you don't know who President Bush is, or more plausibly, what Liechtenstein is. In which case the links are perfect.

The Kos post is patting Frank Rich on the back for using substantive links--he's one of the few writers at the New York Times who does. Of course, his articles will soon be full of link rot (old, broken links) like my blog posts are. The issue for me isn't so much that substantive links are great--they can be annoying distractions and lead to lazy half telling the story, like I did a few posts back. For me the issue is how stupid the Times' fake links are.