TrackBack at News Sites: Why Not?

Yesterday I wrote a bit about the content potential of TrackBack. Today, I contributed a related item to the Poynter Institute’s weblog E-Media Tidbits entitled “News Sites Should Use TrackBack.” Check it out.

I would love it if mainstream news sites would send TrackBack pings to sites they link to from stories, and if they would publish at the end of each story a list of TrackBack pings that story has received.

Why? Well…

First of all, I think listing TrackBacks for news stories would add a desirable level of context and a variety of perspective on the news. It would better leverage the interconnected nature of the Web, and enhance cooperation between bloggers and traditional news outlets.

Also, I suspect TrackBacks would provide valuable marketing and PR data to news organizations – perhaps even more valuable than the data that news sites currently gather by requiring user registration. (I wrote on that topic here and here.)

Do I think news organizations would ever implement TrackBacks? Maybe, but probably not. I’ve never seen TrackBacks listed on a mainstream news site. (Please comment below if you have seen examples of this, and be sure to include links.) In fact, I still slap my forehed in wonder when I see how many major news sites still won’t include hyperlinks in their stories. Are they still terrified that readers might leave their site? Wake up and smell the 21st century! The Web is about connections!

However, I also think that eventually some intrepid news site manager will brave the TrackBack waters – and find the venture rewarding. And guess what? I’d be willing to bet that this pioneer will NOT be a US-based news organization. In my experience, non-US news organizations have been far more willing to experiment with online options that focus on the experience of content, rather than simply exploiting marketing potential.

Just a hunch, but I would bet money on that.