Personally, providing external hyperlinks on a web page is an important part of the journalistic toolbox.
Also, providing relevant and working hyperlinks should enhance a user’s involvement in a particular story or feature.
If a particular user is interested in reading more about farming or Pokémon, then journalists can showcase their ability to act as a guide and not a gatekeeper.
It’s a function that we should not ignore. After all, if attempts are not made to add value and provide the best possible online experience for users, they will be less inclined to return.
During an interview with MP3 Magazine about his pay-for-download website, music33, Tony Wilson shared my views about hyperlinks.
Music downloads may have changed since 2001 but, as shown by the following passage, Wilson’s sage words haven’t.
“This is how it works: there’s a Manchester label that we like, called Skam. We go and see the two guys. They give us a Skam sampler, which includes a band called Boards of Canada. We get it up on the site, you can listen to them. Then you can go check out their own website. If you like what they’re about, you go back to our site and buy a song from the label. The added content comes in the form of the clickthroughs and links to the artist’s own pages. There’s a depth of experience there – and that’s very important: You mustn’t fear linking to label websites and taking them away from your own – if your site is good enough people will come back.”
Non web sources
Anon (2001) Hallelujah! MP3 Magazine, January 2001, p.30-33.
Ward, M. (2002) Journalism Online. Oxford: Elsevier Science.