Direct Source Links in Online News: Whether, Where, and How?

One way I like to use Google News is to quickly compare how different news venues cover the same story. This morning I did that with coverage of the newly released final report from the White House Commission of the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Here’s the thing: When a news story hinges on a document that’s available online, where is the the best place (and what is the best way) to present that link in an online news story? Are source links even necessary or desirable?

There are various ways to approach this quandary…

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My Latest Recommended Links

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve abandoned my “grab bagâ€? approach to recommending cool or useful stuff to check out online. Instead, I’m listing those links on my page – a popular “social bookmarkingâ€? tool.

I know many CONTENTIOUS readers are unfamiliar with, so I thought I’d provide a taste of the kinds of items I’ve been posting there lately…

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Yahoo 360: Where Are You?

I’m rather intrigued – and confused – by Yahoo’s newly unveiled Yahoo 360 personal information service (in beta). It’s been getting considerable buzz. I’d like to try it out.

However, where exactly is it?

OK, here’s a little PR 101: When you debut a new online site or service, make sure your site (especially the home page) is definitely up and running before and during the buzz…

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Update: The New AIM TOS

Quick followup: As promised, AOL has indeed revised its terms of service (TOS) for its AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) service. The new agreement is more in line with what AOL’s chief competitors in the online chat space (Microsoft Messenger, Yahoo Instant Messenger, and Skype) have been offering all along.

From my perspective, here’s the new bottom line: AIM’s TOS is now acceptable. However, I still won’t go back to using it, and I recommend that others steer clear as well. I really don’t like that AOL tried to get away with such a major content grab in the first place. They shredded their own reputation, and their defensive and belated response didn’t repair that damage. AOL blew it…

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The News Ain\’t What It Used to Be

Today, Online Journalism Review published an excellent analysis by my friend and colleague Nora Paul, director of UMN’s Institute for New Media Studies.

In ‘New News’ retrospective: Is online news reaching its potential?, Paul revisits perspectives offered a decade ago at the Poynter Institute’s first New News Seminar about where online journalism might be heading, vs. where we’re at today.

She focuses on the outcome of these early prognostications, and others:

  • The limitless newshole (the opportunity to present all information gathered)
  • Additional depth and context (“Give me more!”)
  • Hyperlinking from and between news stories
  • Increased reader-reporter interaction, via e-mail, discussion forums, and live chats.

Paul notes that for the most part, news organizations have not pursued these opportunites to the extent hoped. Her exploration of the hows and whys behind this outcome are well worth reading.

Personally, I suspect that one of the unacknowledged reasons behind the news industry’s lack of vigor in pursuing these opportunities lies in how inadequately the news business has been defining and delivering news…

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Must-Read Feeds: My List

I’ve done a little reorganizing in my sprawling list of feed subscriptions. (What’s a feed?). If you’ve checked out my complete feed list (always noted in the right column, Feeds Amy Reads), you’ll see I subscribe to over 400 feeds sorted into about 30 categories.

Obviously, there’s no way I read all of that stuff all the time.

So I’ve finally gotten around to creating a short list of feeds that I check daily…

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Book Meme 123.5: My Contribution

Over at Small Business Branding Michael Pollock has suggested a fun way to overcome “blogger’s block” (writer’s block occuring in webloggers). This happens to me rarely, and not today. But this sounds like fun (my friends Tris and Toby certainly enjoyed it), so I’ll give it a quick whirl anyway.

Here are the steps in Pollock’s Book Meme 123.5 method:

  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open the book to page 123.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
  5. Don’t search around and look for the “coolest� book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you.

OK, here goes my attempt…

(UPDATE: According to Alex Barnett, this technique isn’t new. Big deal. It’s still fun.)
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