Online readers of the Burlington Free Press may have noticed an interesting new development: The paper is now including hyperlinks in its stories. But when you mouse over the links, an ad pops up.
Other area news sources — like a certain alternative weekly — use hyperlinks to provide bonus editorial content. For example: If I were writing a blog post for Seven Days about newspaper websites that blur the boundaries between editorial and advertising content by linking directly from the former to the latter, I might include a hyperlink to a related story by the Columbia Journalism Review.
Now let's look at the way the Free Press is hyperlinking its stories:
In an April 8 story by Freeps reporter Sally Pollock about enviro guru Bill McKibben and his inspired climate crew, Pollock writes, "The 47-year-old Ripton resident, a writer and activist with an expertise in climate change, is on the road again."
The climate change link has since disappeared, but when I moused over it yesterday, a pop-up window opened with — wait for it — an Earth Day ad from General Electric, which recently came under fire for its efforts to combat global warming.