Reporters are now including links to primary articles instead of linking to a journal's homepage
The BBC has revised its guidelines for linking to other websites in news articles. Reporters must now link to primary sources such as articles published in scientific journals, rather than simply linking to the homepage of the journal. The new guidelines also encourage reporters to "avoid [linking to] news stories", in favour of linking to analysis.
BBC editorial staff have "long wrestled" with how and where to link to external websites, as the assistant editor of specialist journalism for the BBC News website, Richard Warry, said earlier this year. Ben Goldacre, doctor and Guardian columnist, has spearheaded the move to get the BBC to link directly to science journal articles, and it finally seems to have paid off.
You can see the new guidelines for yourself below, but here's some snippets:
• Links are "essential to online journalism"
• BBC aims to double the number of outbound links from 10m to 10m a month by 2013
• Inline linking, previously banned, is now allowed when it's to a primary source (one or two per story)
• Avoid linking to news stories and link to "useful stuff – analysis, explainers, Q&As, pic galleries etc)
• Look beyond homepage of websites for pages of "specific relevance"
• Inline linking in features doesn't have to be to primary sources, as long as it's of "direct editorial relevance"
Online Journalism Blog has its own take here – "a good set of guidance", says Paul Bradshaw.
BBC guidelines for linking – Sept 2010 (http://www.scribd.com/doc/38963534/BBC-guidelines-for-linking-%E2%80%93-Sept-2010)