Thursday, October 11, 2007

But I Don't Want To Go To Antarctica

I'm currently wondering why the big newspapers (The Times, The Post) still don't hyperlink within their online articles. My guess is that they don't want people leaving their sites, a last-stand effort to regain what they've lost in having to provide so much of their content online for free. But that's just my guess.

This morning I read a Times music review online - "Musical Mysticism in a Search for God" - and once again I thought "it would help to have a link to somewhere I could hear a snippet of this music, so I could better understand what the writer is talking about." I found some samples of Messiaen's organ music on, and you can download individual pieces to your personal-listening device. Just think of what the Times could do if they recast themselves through the ability to hyperlink and started to guide us to a greater understanding, instead of keeping the doors closed.

I think of hyperlinks as wormholes, a doorways taking us from one Web site (kind of like a planet) to another. Online, newspapers seem to be ignoring these wormhole possiblities, or limiting themselves severely to building a wormhole from the bedroom to the bath. This morning, The Washington Post hyperlinked very oddly in the theater review titled "'I Love You': Out of Tune With the Times." Instead of linking to the theatre's Web site (where the play is onstage) in the text, they make you scroll "below the fold" to the end of the article. What makes it above the fold? A link to articles on Antarctica, which has an extremely tenuous relationship to the review. Check it out and see what I mean.

Maybe a better wormhole would be from The Washington Post to the official Web site of the Off-Broadway production.

No comments: