Further to my posting on how newspapers need to see online and offline as different sides of the same coin, here’s an interesting piece from john burke of editorsweblog.org: How Wikipedia’s rising recognition may affect newspapers. In it he talks about the need for online newspapers to see their articles as longer term resources, and to build in external links that give the piece greater context and durability:
This idea is also relevant for anyone who picks up the paper in the middle of a developing story. Online newspapers of the future may thus act as virtual information super-links aside from their role as purveyors of quality journalism.
Keeping this in mind, the future newsroom may have an additional employee: a ‘link editor’ (if the position ever takes hold I’ll try to come up with a more original job title). The bearer of this responsibility would be charged with reading drafts of articles before they are published, adding any relevant links to names, places, events, etc., in the text. The journalist, as many of you may realize, does not have time to complete such a task.
I like the idea, although I would see the link editor’s role as a broader one, including the kind of editing I was talking about in the earlier posting. But for sure Wikipedia is helping to redefine what online information is really about, and is already becoming a natural referral point for many online readers.