Bad links on major news sites
April 10, 2004 7:25 PM   Subscribe

Why do the most professional news web sites so often - and increasingly often - include bad or wrong links? I'm talking NYT, WP, Daily Telegraph and Google News et al. (For a recent example, click on the Researching the New Joy of Sex highlight in today's Observer and you get this.)
posted by MiguelCardoso to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
not enough proofreaders? the speed in which they have to get stuff up on the site?
posted by amberglow at 8:45 PM on April 10, 2004

The same reason why every day you can find up to a dozen typos in the print edition of the N.Y. Times. SLOPPY.
posted by vito90 at 11:22 PM on April 10, 2004

The two previous comments are true, but one would think that in the important case of a link that a quick "all systems go" check would be in order.
posted by The God Complex at 1:15 AM on April 11, 2004

This is a generalization:

1. A priority is placed on the print edition.

2. Editing for the print edition uses legacy systems which may not be tied to the Internet; or, Internet access from editing systems may be forbidden, due to security issues (or to prevent slacking off).

3. Thus, the copy editors/proof-readers have to, like they do with names or addresses, trust the journalist.

4. Post-editing for print, the copy is moved through the CMS systems which transform it for posting to the Internet.

5. Such CMS systems have to deal with the odd legacy editing systems using a variety of scripts and conversion tools which are not perfect and cannot ever account for all eventualities.
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:51 AM on April 11, 2004

What Mo said; also, Miguel, are you quite sure that bad links happen "increasingly often," or might it be that you're just instinctively adding a little drama to your post, as you so often do? If so, could you please try to restrain yourself? Because the post doesn't need it, and it's irritating.
posted by languagehat at 6:22 AM on April 11, 2004

For reference , click on the photo to get the proper story on the Observer web site, or just go here.
posted by ALongDecember at 7:43 AM on April 11, 2004

To perhaps repeat Mo's point more briefly, the basic problem is that no human person looks at the copy once it's been auto-formatted for posting to the Web, and the ones who see it beforehand aren't thinking about the Web.
posted by jjg at 12:19 PM on April 11, 2004

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