Jeff Bercovici over at Daily Finance picks up on some nuance that we missed in our earlier post about how 99% of the stories blogs link to come from traditional mainstream media sources, according to a study out today from PEW’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.
Bercovici notes that of that pool, 80% of those links come from four news outlets: BBC News (23%), CNN.com (21%), The New York Times (20%) and The Washington Post (16%).
Which “means that the news organisations at the very top of the food chain are essentially in a different business than everyone else,” he writes.
But there are certain implications for The New York Times, which is going to start charging for online content in January 2011:
To see what effect that will have on the Times‘s place in the ecology of the Internet, you need only note that The Wall Street Journal, with nearly twice the print circulation of the Times, isn’t on that short list of most-linked-to news outlets. That, of course, is because the Journal has dwelled for years behind a pay wall that, while highly permeable, is still an effective deterrent to bloggers, who don’t want to direct their readers to dead ends. The same goes for the Financial Times, which employs a metered model similar to the one the Times is believed to favour.
In fact, PEJ’s study suggests that the links that would have gone to WSJ and FT in the absence of pay walls have been going to the Times instead. The content on nytimes.com most often linked to by bloggers is business and economic news, which accounts for 29% of linked stories — as much as the next two areas (politics/national news and technology) combined. Surely in an all-free online universe, many if not most of those links would go to financial publications instead of to a general-interest paper.
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