blogging / Blogroll / CICM shop talk / industry news / Links

Dead links and the dirty ground

Working through some blog housekeeping over the past few days, I noticed that there were some people whose blogs I respected that I wanted to add to the blogroll on the right side of the page.

As I started looking through the list, I realized there were a few of the sites on the list that are no longer updating. In fact, one: College Rag (which I wrote about in 2008), appears to have ceased to exist altogether. I didn’t link to their name, because it appears to have gone dormant, replaced by an ad site.

I don’t have so much of a problem with people who stop updating their personal web sites or blogs. People get new jobs, they decide they don’t have as much to say, or they want a break. That happens to all of us. But I do regret when sites go totally dark. It’s a classic case of link rot.

I’m trying out a WordPress plug-in (Broken Link Checker) to see if I can clean up some of the link rot that’s happened over the past 5 years. I’m also writing this as a reminder for any college media outlet with extensive online archives to occasionally check if your outbound links are still functioning.

As for the blogroll, I’ve reorganized things a bit. I realize that putting bloggers and journalism-related sites into neat little silos based on some descriptive term (industry, new media, academia, college media) didn’t always accurately describe the blogger or the content of the site. So now, I’ve put everything into three categories: Organizations, Others, and Fallow.

Fallow means a site that hasn’t been updated in a long time. These sites still have good information, but they’re not currently being updated frequently. Organizational links are self-explanatory – these are “corporate” sites, with a wealth of evergreen information put out by a journalism-related non-profit. Everyone else falls into the “others” category.

I would still encourage you to check out the sites on the list (it’s on the right, below the Twitter widget).

I’ve heard it said that site visitors don’t use blogrolls (lists of related sites) anymore. I wonder if that’s the case? I will certainly use them on occasion. At I think they are helpful for new visitors who might want to further explore the particular mindspace your site is trafficking in.

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