The British Broadcasting Company (BBC), often considered one of the more complete and balanced news organizations, is working to strengthen its use of outbound links to help better tell its stories.
The BBC does this now; the formal policy addresses what observers see as a mix of the practical (internal cost reductions) and political (for-profit media companies would like a little love).
At the Nieman Foundation, Jonathan Stray reports the BBC perspective, which underscores an interest on being a “window on the web” for BBC users as well as a resource that provides access to primary source material. In the BBC’s view, wider access helps inform and ground its readers, even as it sends traffic elsewhere.
Although Stray and some comments to the Nieman and BBC posts hint at the debate about “walled” versus “open” sites, I don’t see the BBC strategy as a factor in that debate. Whether I pay for access or can retrieve content freely, I want to see both external and internal links.
Posts that are mostly or entirely a wall of text tell a story, but it is hard to argue that they use the power of the web to tell the whole story.