Hyperlinking is another aspect of interactive online jouralism. The hyperlink can transport you from one article to another by the click of the mouse. Here are some of the positives of hyperlinking.
It makes browsing less time consuming:
When browsing news websites, hyperlinks make deciding what you want to read a lot easier. Example: The Independent uses hyperlinks in its website and personally I find them to be great. It’s easier to choose what you do and do not want to read by just seeing a headline and a short article summary. This is a huge advantage of online journalism over print, as it enables you to be in charge. You choose what you want to read, and if you don’t like it, don’t click on it.
Adds to interactivity:
By inserting hyperlinks into an online news story, or a blog, it adds another level to it. It makes it more interesting. Hyperlinks represent the primary mechanism for this interactivity on the Web, linking the various elements of a lengthy, complex work, introducing multiple points of view, and adding depth and detail. A work of online journalism can consist of a hyperlinked set of web pages; these pages can themselves include hyperlinks to other web sites.
With interactivity, the online journalist can pre-determine, to a certain extent, the reader’s progress through the material. Hyperlinks encourage the reader to continue to explore various narrative threads made by the writer. A web of interlinked pages is also an ideal way of giving readers access to source documents and background information that form the article.
The reader can be taken from page to page within the website they are visiting, which are referred to as internal links; or to a completely different site with related information, through the use of external links. This gives the reader the advantage of having information from various different sources, and a lot of the time, many different viewpoints on one issue.
Especially for research, this makes online journalism much faster than the traditional ways of researching, or looking up documents and other articles. With other media, this would mean spending hours pouring over old newspapers and searching through numerous books or scanning through tapes. The internet can bring up this information as fast as your computer allows.
One of the readings we were given in class was from the Columbia Journalism Review and was called ‘Linked Out’. It says that the internet makes knowledge more accessible, and that the hyperlink is the building block to access this knowledge.
It connects articles to sources, as from one website you are linked to another, and from the next you may be linked to another and so on. The article puts the news in your mind, but through hyper linking, you are free to delve further into the topic of news.
‘Do what you do best and link to the rest’ was said by Jeff Jarvis, an American journalist. It’s a good point, as a journalist can only do so much when it comes down to explaining and telling a story, but if you add the extra dimension of hyper linking, then the reader can go on and do the back up work.
‘Newspapers are getting more comfortable with linking out even to competitors. This takes it farther. It says that the best service you can perform for yourself and your readers is to link instead of trying to do everything.’
And once you really open yourself up to this, then it also means that you can link to more people gathering more coverage of news: ‘We didn’t cover that school board meeting today, but here’s a link to somebody who recorded it.’ That’s really no different from saying after a big news event, ‘We weren’t there to take pictures, but lots of our readers were and here they are.’
Hyperlinks are everywhere, there really is no escape from them, but I feel that they add a lot to a piece, and let the reader decide what he/she wants to follow up on.