I was astonished to read Newspapers: don't link to us yesterday, I really thought newspapers, several of those mentioned keen to come across as web-savy, had moved on from such selfdestructive policies.
It's a reminder that we still need the excellent Link Manifesto penned by The Danish Online News Association (DONA) to be spread far and wide. I wrote about it for Journalism.co.uk and blogged about it over at Wired Journalists - where Paul Balcerak said he thought it should be on the wall of every newsroom, and I agree of course - but I don't think I've blogged about it here, so here goes:
First law: We link to the sources for the data we use in our journalistic products. If we have read, seen or heard important new information on an external site - for instance about companies, people or surveys - we will link to it.
Second law: We link directly and precisely to the information we use from external sites. In this way we provide proper service to our readers rather than just linking to the front page of the external site.
Third law: We are precise in our information about where a link leads to; about who has produced the information we link to and when. The readers should know where it takes them when they follow a link.
Fourth law: We recognise that an article consisting of precise links to information that represents different angles on an issue is a journalistic product.
Fifth law: We are open to inbound links to our own news sites because we want to be an integrated part of the web’s ecosystem
Sixth law: We aspire to making it easier to link directly to our articles.
For the record I should mention that I, with the help of other online enthusiasts, founded The Norwegian Online News Association (NONA) in December. I would appreciate your help with spreading this manifesto far and wide. When it was first launched, its authors, Kim Elmose and Lars K. Jensen, encouraged news rooms everywhere to write their own link commandments and use their manifesto freely.
Update 14:36 CET: I must admit I initially failed to see the post on Newspapers: don't link to us over at OnlineJournalismBlog was not written by the blog's owner, Paul Bradshaw, but have amended it now. Also, I'm delighted to see that the post by Malcolm Coles has resulted in some immediate changes and a new post naming more sites banning inbound direct links.
Update 18-03/09 16:00 CET: And if there's anyone out there still thinking linking's not good for you, that linking out doesn't make sense even in today's web economy, here, as I tweeted the other day, is a maths formula that proves them wrong.