I’ve finalized my paper for the IAMCR 2010 conference: “Mapping the hyperlinked environment of online news: issues and challenges for the French news sites” (pdf). It is similar to my paper on the hyperlink networks around Belgian news sites (pdf), with a different structure and a different way to approach the topic: its is less focused on the maps and there is more emphasis on why hyperlinks matter for online journalism.
Abstract : This paper investigates links in the context of news websites. Although hyperlinking is associated with some of the most salient promises coupled with online news (interactivity, credibility, transparency and diversity), research hardly looks into an elementary yet crucial question addressed by our research: where do links found on news websites lead? Our analysis is based on exploratory maps of hyperlink networks. The very purpose of such maps and a number of specific methodological issues are also examined. On empirical grounds, the links found on 18 French news websites are explored. Three subsets are identified, namely links to other media, links to blogs and links that do not provide additional journalistic content. The function of links is discussed while it is established that links with a journalistic purpose are scarce as compared to links with a commercial or practical aim. The possibility of outsourcing the responsibility of linking on blogs is also discussed
And here are the illustrations :