Pages

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

BBC's Nic Newman: "better links within blogs amongst the most effective"

Last Friday, BBC Online conducted an open meeting about plans for the website over the coming months. The meeting was held in response to criticisms that the BBC's online services were not sufficiently open and transparent. The talks and discussion are available in a series of videos on the BBC Internet Blog.

I haven't watched them all yet, but I thought this section on the BBC's approach to external linking by Nic Newman, Controller, Journalism, FM&T*, was worth pulling out, (especially as it ties so neatly with last week's wee rant):
"Our aim is not to link indiscriminately, but to link in line with our public purposes and editorial guidelines. So we look to add value through our links. We look to take people to content that further enriches or informs.

"We will continue to use a mixture of manual and automated methods to do so. So we've already talked about Search Plus which is part of our automated solutions but a lot of the evidence points to the focus on editorial linking as being a really important part of the mix.

"One of the most trafficked pages on the Sports site is the football transfer page and the deep editorial links that we've added here in the last few months are responsible for delivering a significant amount of that uplift that you see in the previous graph. [Showing a rise in external clickthroughs from around 8 million a month to over 12 million a month for bbc.co.uk].

"In news, the better links within [BBC] blogs, are amongst the most effective because of the editorial relevance that comes from the authorship of that (sic) blogs and the relationship that people have with that content."
These are steps in the right direction and I think editorial linking, rather than automated linking, is vitally important. Regular readers will know that I wrote a post about the value of link journalism a while back and as I did then, I still think more could be done which would involve some significant changes to the working practices of BBC journalists.

That sort of thing doesn't happen overnight. But the BBC has a responsibility to continue to work on the area of external linking - it's absolutely key to the BBC Trust's aim of the Corporation being 'a trusted guide to the Web'.

*That's 'Future, Media and Technology' for those outside the BBC's jargon-laden walls. Although actually I remember talking about "FM&T" to a BBC journalist who looked at me as if I was talking about a souped-up form of shortwave radio so the previous sentence might be of some use to BBC employees as well!

1 comments:

Graham Holliday said...

The thing that kinda annoys me about these sort of discussions is they are having meetings and workshops and focus groups and wotnot to discuss the bleeding obvious. Let's look at this point:

"Our aim is not to link indiscriminately, but to link in line with our public purposes and editorial guidelines. So we look to add value through our links. We look to take people to content that further enriches or informs."

Well, fuck me. Can anyone think of a reason why they'd want to link to shit? Can anyone think of a good reason why any journalist worth a thimble full of salt would ever want to be seen linking to shit?

This is obvious, basic stuff and yes I know the BBC has a million and one hoops to jump through to link out to anything - and that's another thing, can linking out through committee ever work? - but links drive the web, have always driven the web and good linkers get good reputations, become good resources.

FWIW, when I switched @frontlineblog to human-mode and switched off all auto-links it was obvious to see the added value people got from it and that only encourages you to link it more, to better and better stuff more often.

I no longer update @frontlineblog mind you.

Post a comment

Comments

 
Copyright 2009 Mediating Conflict. Powered by Blogger Blogger Templates create by Deluxe Templates. WP by Masterplan