At Global Voices, hyperlinks serve the primary function of backing up our facts. Our stories, for the most part, rely on publicly available information. Thus any time the information in our story comes from a source, and not you, the writer, it should be attributed and linked to.
Hyperlinks serve a double purpose: they ensure transparency and credibility with our audience, but also help contextualize a subject or point readers to further resources.
However, too many links can be distracting, and can make for a cacophonic reading experience. It might also confuse the reader as to what is a source of a fact, and what is merely an invitation to “read this to find out more.”
As a reporter, reliable and clear sourcing should be your primary concern. Usually, one link — to whoever reported the story first, or whoever reported it best — is sufficient to attribute a claim. Use contextual links sparingly so as to not muddy your sourcing.
Who to link
Always link to the most primary source possible. Example: if you’re citing figures from a UNESCO report, link to the report itself (usually a pdf), not to a media outlet who’s produced a story about the report.
If it is an attribution — link the verb
When attributing, always link the verb said/declared/explained/wrote — and link to where you took that quote from. Alternatively, you could link the words according to. Don’t quote whole sentences of text.
If it is about context — link the noun
If you’d like to direct your reader to further context, link a noun on the sentence that is most related to that subject in question.
For example, if you’re citing an NGO that is not very well-known outside of your region, you could link the NGOs’ name to their website.
If you’re citing a cultural tradition from your community, but don’t want to add a whole paragraph explaining what that is, you could link to a Wikipedia entry about that tradition. However, remember that link doesn’t always replace a direct contextualization and, depending on how central that particular issue is to your story, your editor may ask for an explanation.