Why Oh Why Can’t Our Press Corps Adopt Permalinks?

I’ve been away from the computer all afternoon and am trying to get caught up on the Valerie Plame testimony hubbub. It has been difficult because the story, quite literally, keeps changing. Memeorandum links to a story by AP’s Matt Apuzzo entitled, “Plame: My Cover Was ‘Recklessly’ Abused.” Following that link, however, leads to a William Branigin piece entitled, “At Hearing, Plame Rebukes Bush Administration CIA Operative Says Her Cover Was ‘Carelessly and Recklessly’ Destroyed.” Meanwhile, YahooNews now links to a totally different AP story by Julie Hirschfeld Davis entitled, “Plame remarks spark Capitol Hill stir.”

I had the pleasure of meeting Matt at the Scooter Libby trial and happen to trust his knowledge of the case and his fairness in reporting the story, so getting his version is important. Additionally, Tom Maguire had high praise for it.

Thankfully, the fact that I know Matt wrote a story is helpful because I can search for him by name via GoogleNews. Lo and behold, the LA Chronicle has at least a version of that piece. (Wire service stories tend to be posted on the fly and then constantly re-edited without acknowledgment of changes.)

Why can’t online outlets assign a permanent URL to each version of a story? Surely, they can afford the disk space.

Off to work on the Plame post…

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bithead says:


    Interesting, that they should come up as a subject, here, so close to the post about attributions informal writing.

    That said, there may very well be some technical issues, particularly with some of the smaller papers, given the sheer data load.

    But there’s another part of this that cannot be ignored; if the story is no longer likable from anywhere, and can be found, it can’t be used to track the progression of the story.

    As an example; stories about that long line of trucks moving from Iraq in this area less than 24 hours prior to our invasion of Iraq, have been hard to find these last few years. Yet the majors spent almost a full day tracking that story.

  2. Yes, why doesn’t the Main Stream Media not want to provide a service that’s primarily of use to their fastest growing competitors, blogs? It’s almost like they’re trying to be competetive or something.

  3. James Joyner says:

    primarily of use to their fastest growing competitors, blogs?

    I suppose that’s right in the abstract, since blogs are the most ubiquitous posters of links on the Internet. But academic researchers, other journalists, media critics, users of Digg-type services, and others would surely prefer to have a snapshot-in-time view of a given story they’re commenting on.

    The current practice of writing over stories strikes me as intellectually dishonest, frankly, since there are people analyzing their coverage in near-real-time.