Saturday, August 15, 2009

More about the new that I don't get

There was a simple news posting about a new leader for the Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce at the new site. Simple enough.

Then a member of the site's staff put up a link to a Crain's online story that had additional resume information about the new Chamber leader.

Here's my question. Why not pick up the phone and simply check the information and add it to your story and not drive traffic off your site to another site? One of the commenters even mentioned that.

Violating my own rule about posting links to that site you can see it here.


Anonymous said...

Because linking out, reporters there will quickly find, makes their job simpler in relation to the pay they get for doing proper journalism. This is new journalism. According to, this is the future of journalism like you've never seen before.

The site so far is an utter failure journalistically speaking. Is it making money? Once the economy rebounds, how will it not make money? Paying reporters peanuts.

Anonymous said...

I see your point in general, but I don't know ... I think on a story like this, which let's be honest is not a very important one, making another phone call after seeing more information in another publication seems like a waste of time.

If it's a huge hard news story or something, then yes, make the other call, confirm what is in another publication and focus the efforts that way.

I would guess is pretty small staffed news-gathering-wise compared to the AA News, so it makes sense to link out. The commenter you mention who said something like "guess I'll just go to Crain's to get all my news about AA" ... that's just silly. Really? Because they linked to one relevant story, that means Crain's is giving you more local content?

Come on. Linking on top of doing original reporting doesn't take anything away in this case. If you link to Crain's, people are still going to have to come back to for their local news.

Constantly linking to the AA Chronicle, which offers similar content to, on the other hand, may not be such a wise thing to do.

Anonymous said...

FYI: Crain's is developing Ann Arbor as a region for its site b/c there is no AA News. Linking to them eventually will be the same as linking to the Chronicle. If you want news, go to either of them before

Edward Vielmetti said...

Jim -

I'm the person who did the quick cut and paste and link to another organization's story, instead of doing "original reporting" to confirm those details.

You'll see me doing this more than once as time goes on.

Is this the new journalism? I don't know. It is, however, the way that bloggers have been doing things for years. Of course, you don't just cut and paste any crap you see on the internets and call it useful, but some measure of links to other things that other people have written provides a perspective on a story, a service to readers, or just hints to the next time a "real reporter" comes along to check more background if they don't have it already.

Jim of L-Town said...


My only point is that this is a dramatic change from the old journalism in that you would never, unless you had no other option, link or credit another source if you could easily come up with the same information.

I wasn't necessarily criticizing the practice, I just don't get it. There's a lot of things I don't get, it's probably more a factor of me than the things.

Jim of L-Town said...


By the way you should clue in Jordan about the linking thing as her overreaction to me linking to her You Tube video resulted in me deciding to never link to the site, if possible.

I guess I'm not the only one who doesn't get it.

inky said...

Sorry, while I get the "internets," I continue to believe it is inherently lazy to link to someone else's work on a story that is playing out in your hometown. I also think it sends a message that isn't interested in going the extra mile (or making that additional phone call) to deliver the most complete story.

While the hiring of a new chamber of commerce director isn't the story of the century, why be in business if all you're going to do is post press releases and link to other people's work?

truthiness said...

One downside to linking to other reports is: What happens if those other reports are wrong?

Anonymous said...

Forget what you've heard about social media and having a trained professional staff of reporters, linking out is THE business plan for

Why? Because it's expensive to hire reporters to check facts, gather information and so on.

If you don't care about quality and have no competitive spirit, you can link to another news organization that can do the legwork. You don't have to pay a reporter, and you can still sell ads on your website. People will come to the site if it becomes the aggregator for ann arbor.

That's the new journalism. At least until the last reporter is fired and there's no news to link to.

CMUgrad said...

I would have much more respect for the leaders of if -- instead of promising some revolutionary, stupendous, newfangled journalistic phenomenon, they just came out and said something the effect of:

"Folks, for 174 years, we and our predecessors tried to operate a decent newspaper that would inform the community about what was going on in their neighborhoods, city hall, schools, U of M, etc. Once in while we broke a good hard news story. And for 170 or so of those years, it was great: We sold so much advertising that we were swimming in cash. How much cash, you ask? So much that even after every Newhouse child and grandchild got their own pony, nose job and summer in the Hamptons, we had enough left over to pay reporters good wages and give them great insurance. We even invented -- get this -- a "lifetime job pledge" to show how paternalistic we were and to keep out the pesky unions. We hate unions.

"Unfortunately, we didn't see these internets coming, and some guy named Craig Newmark had the gall to offer the same classified ads we were charging hundreds of dollars for FOR FREE. So people chose that over us. Who knew?

"In the meantime, we all figured that if we gave away our content online, people would want to read more and still buy our papers. But they didn't. And then advertisers figured out that preprints and direct mail are cheaper and more effective than running ads in a paper nobody will buy. Who knew?

"So we took a cue from the auto companies and hit the "reset" button. We went online, fired most of the Ann Arbor News reporters, cut the pay of the ones we kept, changed the name of our business (we have VERY good lawyers) and even moved out of the old digs to rent new ones.

"Problem is, our handful of low-pay reporters can't possibly cover this town, so we've decided to let people work for us for free. We also link to the work of journalists whose companies are still paying them to check facts and do original reporting. The clueless old farts call this lazy and unjournalistic, but we are hip and wear our hats backwards so we call it 'aggregating.' We hope that nobody notices."

Anonymous said...

Some thoughts:
• What if created a sidebar of sorts that holds the links to competitors' stories on the same subject and teased out what's significant about each of the links?
• Or instead of putting new information in the comments section, added that new info to the body of the story itself and made the appropriate link?
(In at least one stories -- maybe it was this one -- I've seen information corrected by reporters in the comments section but not in the story itself.)
• It is ironic that management for years has told reporters to write shorter, because readers don't want to follow a jump. We've always known this to actually mean, 'If we mandate writing 12-inch stories, no matter how complex the story, we'll look like we know something about our readers while getting to our true purpose: cutting back pages and costs and raising profit margins.'
Now New Journalism (capital N, capital J) comes along implying that readers have the time to troll through multiple comments to piece together a story from multiple news sources that are largely repetitive.
Who has the time for that? It seems like a pretty hamhanded way of aggregating news.
Again, as has been noted here already, it's management subtext: 'We want lower costs/salaries and higher profit margins.'
I have no problem with 'Googlenet' news -- if it is not used as a crutch for reporters, if it truly adds value for readers and if management is being truthful about its intentions.

Anonymous said...

You might be interested that announced a "partnership" with the Michigan Daily - the U-M student paper - to post links to the Daily's football coverage on More "partnerships" with the Daily to come on the news side, apparently.

I'm a little worried. The A2 News and Daily had competed for coverage of U-M.