Online ad leads to slaying
Over the weekend, both the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune handled breaking news relating to the discovery of a Minneapolis woman, dead in the trunk of her car in a Burnsville park. After following both sites' content closely, it's fairly easy to see what is prioritized for each paper and how efficiently reporters were able to post it to the site. Katherine Ann Olson was found late Friday, and full stories weren't available until today. At first, the Pioneer Press had more comprehensive information, in terms of specific details relating to the discovery of the body. But mere hours later, the Star Tribune posted a very thorough story, in which multiple family members were interviewed and gave insight on Olson's life. Each outlet followed an inverted-pyramid structure, with stories starting out as point-by-point accounts of the homicide and body discovery, according to police. Then, they transition smoothly into characterizations of the victim per her family and friends.
Additionally, the Star Tribune piece offered hyperlinks to Web sites, like Facebook.com and Craigslist.org, that are mentioned in the story. This raises ethical questions about whether news sites should offer links -- considered by some to be free advertising -- in stories. A hot debate in the tech-centric era we live in, the use of hyperlinks is deeply contested by some in journalism and strongly supported as a tool of thoroughness in reporting by others.