Case Study: Link Journalism With Publish2

I start every semester in my online news classes teaching students the fundamental concepts of HTML. Not primarily because I want them to know the technology, but because I want them to appreciate that for all the bells, whistles and buzzwords it is the lowly link that makes online journalism fundamentally different than offline journalism.

If journalism is a conversation, I tell them, the first key to being a good conversationalist is being a good listener. You’d never walk in to a party and just hijack the first conversation you come across. You listen, wait and figure out what you can add and how you can move the discussion. Putting this analogy in to practice with links from your site to another site is the first step in developing authentic conversational leadership.

After all, the man who invented the hyperlink also hypothesized this role for journalists.

This semester, we are putting this concept in to practice in the site we’re building for Public Affairs Reporting for New Media. Using Publish2, the students are getting to practice “link journalism.” The site is now live, and here’s how we’re starting to build it out.

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A New Profession of Trail Blazers Who Find Delight

While working today on a chapter for a new edition of Reaching Audiences, I was re-reading the 1945 Atlantic Monthly article in which Vannevar Bush lays out his concept of the hypermedia world we’re now building. In it, he not only envisions a new method of storing and sorting information but a new industry of people who do so.

“There is a new profession of trail blazers, those who find delight in the task of establishing useful trails through the enormous mass of the common record.”

Perhaps I have a perverted perspective, but MAN does that sound like a sexxxy job description — pioneering, democratic, joyful. If these qualities stir your heart, then you’re a journalist in any medium.