NYTimes.com has come a looong way.
At first, all the links on the site pointed to more of its own content, except for ads, as if the NYT was the only place ever worth reading. Then the NYT took a big step backwards with the Times Select program, locking its most valuable content behind a pay wall. But the Times saw that, although they were making money, they were losing influence. So, they came up with Times Topics as a place where we could point our links, enabling the NYT to climb up the Google rankings. And they unlocked their oldest archives, which is a great social boon.
And now they’re started Times Extra: Articles on the NYTimes.com site now are suffixed with links out to other newspapers and blogs that talk about the same topic. So, at the end of an article on, say, Obama’s economic pledge, there may be a link to a Washington Post story, a post at Crooks and Liars, and maybe even a comment section.
Consider how unlikely such a thing would have seemed ten or even give years ago. Well done, NYT.
This is actually a nice step forward from an organization that has been slow to adopt new tools. I’m not sure how the outside links are really powered. The Blogrunner site says it is automated based on online popularity, etc. and that editorial discretion will be light. I guess we shall see but it is a novel way to expand the discussion of news.
Now if they would start adding useful links in the articles themselves…