The BBC have just emailed new linking guidelines to their staff. They stipulate that linking is “essential” to online journalism and in one slide (it’s a PowerPoint document) titled ‘If you remember nothing else’ highlight how linking will change:
What we used to do…
- Lists of archive news stories
- Homepages only on external websites
- No inline linking in news stories
What we do now – think adding value…
- Avoid news stories and link to useful stuff – analysis, explainers, Q&As, pic galleries etc
- On external websites look beyond homepage to pages of specific relevance
- Inline linking in news stories is OK when it’s to a primary source
Other points of note in the document include the repeated emphasis on useful deep linking, and the importance of the newstracker module (which links to coverage on other news sites). Curiously, when referring to inline links it does say that “different rules can apply” to BBC blogs – “speak to blogs team if in doubt”.
Something I did look for – and find – was a reference to linking to scientific journals. And here it is: “In news stories inline links must go to primary sources only– eg scientific journal article or policy report (1 or 2 per story; avoid intro)”
This is significant given the previous campaigning on this issue.
On the whole it’s a good set of guidance – I’ll refrain from publishing it in hope that the BBC will…
UPDATE: It seems The Guardian followed up the story and embedded the document, so here it is: