Monday, August 29, 2016

When Does the New York Times Decide to Use Hyperlinks in Stories?

Here’s an email I sent yesterday to the Public Editor of the New York Times:

Good evening Liz -

A few questions for you on the overlooked subject of hyperlinks:

1. How does the Times decide when to link to a person or subject’s internal “topics” page? Is it done automatically by the CMS?

For example, in http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/27/business/media/breitbart-news-presidential-race.html, see “Andrew Breitbart” in the eighth paragraph and “Tea Party movement” in the 10th paragraph.

Also, the same article mentions “the ‘Saturday Night Live’ actor Leslie Jones.” Why the link to SNL but not to Jones?

2. Do reporters insert links when they file, or do editors usually add them?

3. What’s the official criteria for a link? Is there an informal policy?

For example, if you mention a YouTube video, surely it behooves you to link to it — if not embed it. But too often in straight news articles, links you’d expect are MIA.

For example: The same Brietbart article says, “The site refers to “migrant rape gangs” in Europe, and was among the first news outlets to disseminate unsubstantiated rumors that Mrs. Clinton was in ill health.”

If this were a blog post, I’d expect to see links on “migrant rape gangs” and “disseminate unsubstantiated rumors.”

Thanks, Liz.