Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date



This study was designed to gauge how hyperlinks are used by four news organizations in order to provide suggestions about using hyperlinks to attain a more transparent style of journalism. The idea for the study grew out of discussion about the shortcomings of the traditional ideal of journalistic objectivity, such as a reliance on “he said/she said” reporting in order to avoid accusations of bias by not giving the sides of an argument equal play in an article. I propose that news organizations can better inform their readers if they eschew the idea of objectivity and, more specifically, the idea of balance in an article. In describing media critics’ ideas about transparency, a method of journalism in which the reader is able to see behind the finished article and gain a better understanding of the origin of information, I suggest that online journalism is best suited to developing a working model of transparency, as websites have unlimited space. The study of hyperlinks in particular is designed to support an argument that journalists can work toward transparency in their reporting by linking to source documents, such as the full text of quoted documents or to the full audio of an interview. The study found that online-only news organizations are more likely to use hyperlinks than are organizations still dependent on a print product that provides revenue.