The Guardian is adding some great features to its website. I’m not crazy about the betting stuff, coming from puritanical stock, and I’m not quite sure how the paper is making money from all this, but I do like the “article history” feature. It’s below the byline and before the text. Click on the link and a window appears explaining where the article originally appeared offline and when it was last updated:
There’s a similar link at the bottom of each story although for now the link doesn’t seem to work:
This stuff is good for several reasons:
- It helps to create a relationship between the offline and the online, especially where the paper has two distinct offline products (Observer and Guardian).
- Giving a ‘last updated’ time/date gives the reader a sense of how recently journalists/editors added to the story. I’m not quite sure whether this means the Guardian is going to update the story in the journalistic sense of adding a lead if the situation requires it. But it’s helpful to the reader to know when the piece was last touched.
- This would also work well for corrections. Correcting a story and explaining what it was corrected from is an important part of journalistic transparency (this Wired story, for example, corrected Clueless Manifesto to Cluetrain Manifesto after BuzzMachine pointed out the error, but didn’t indicate what the original error was; ironic, given the subject matter.)
Of course, this could go further. Perhaps the Guardian could share with readers when work started on the story, who edited it and for how long, as well as a history of comments on the piece (I never quite understand why comments are allowed on blog-type articles on the Guardian website, but not on stories.)
And a minor quibble: I’d like to see the time tagged as GMT, or British Summer Time, or whatever, given the Guardian’s huge foreign readership. We’re a big global family now, but we’re not all in the same timezone.
Anyway, kudos to the Guardian/Observer for an impressive site.