Journalism and Mass Communications, College of


Teaching Linking-Ways to Develop Respected Curators

Date of this Version



Published in Nieman Reports: Professor's Corner (Winter 2011) © 2011 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College


As part of the growing Internet culture of sharing, teaching the value of linking has found a home in journalism schools. These bits of embedded computer code provide readers with the capacity to unearth more information with a simple click. Links can provide context and attribution, the linchpins of journalism. Yet some newspaper editors have been wary, in part, because linking is counterintuitive. Inviting readers to move away from the story before finishing it can feel akin to the Chicago Tribune inviting readers to sample the Chicago Sun-Times.

The aversion to linking is changing, though, partly because the Internet has conditioned millions to find out more by clicking. Links in news stories are part of a culture of sharing in a world that includes Twitter and Facebook, a top driver of traffic to news websites with its 500 million users sharing news stories.

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