Posts Tagged ‘link ethics’


Link! Do not Blink!

December 16, 2009

The argument of linking or not linking in this digital age where the web has created possibilities to dig and find information is at least irrelevant. Of course we should link and have no doubt about it.

If you are still wondering what the reasons are to really start / continue linking to sources, here are some reasons:

Linking is Constructive

  • it’s ethical – links can serve as a “windows” to sources, give credit to original sources. Bob Steele and Bill Mitchell of Poynter institute write about the ethics of linking, which might be worth reading through.
  • it’s educational – links give more information to readers who would like to expand their knowledge
  • it’s transparent – links build bridges between two main functions of journalistic craft: you share and reveal the truth by revealing source, thus raising credibility of your information and profession
  • it’s a good use of space – you provide important information in a short writing with possibilities to learn more and more

“Good Judgment” in Linking

Just as we chose our sources, so should we chose the links we provide.  How? Here are some ideas:

  • make sure the source you are linking to is credible
  • assess relevance with care, be respectful to your readership’s time
  • provide balanced views and information in the links, do not just link to information that is one sided
  • avoid advertising and promoting sources, especially if you are writing a column or an editorial

Bill Mitchell, the Editor of Poynter Online, in his article On the Ethics of Linking: The Indianapolis Story illustrates why links are important and why it is important to use this tool with care.

Roots of the Pro & Con

As with any other source and the decision to use a particular source there is healthy sceptisism. Bakc in early 2000, when gidital reporting was still the talk of the town, some reised issues. So did Richard Nokes, a professor of medieval literature at Troy University. Early, in 2005 Professor Nokes asked for his peer-bloggers to comment on the matter of linking and its ethic

Linking Guides

Many news organizations and individual bloggers have set their own codes of ethics where they address the issue of linking. One of the guides I trust the most is the the Poynter’s guide of ethics.


What we should continue to question ourselves about is  what to link to, how often and when.