Last night while watching CNN's "No Bias, No Bull" hosted by Campbell Brown (she wasn't on last night - bummer :( I noticed something very interesting. To the right of the screen they were displaying the next few stories that would be covered. The presentation was clean, as the link boxes were transparent, so the net result was that as a viewer I was much more informed as to what was coming next.
Here's a screens shot taken hastily from my iphone;
The "air links" are on the right of the screen. Just before I snapped this shot they had 2 or 3 more links showing. So why is this worth noting? Because it's a further move to providing viewers with access to additional content that may be *interesting* to them. The upside for CNN is that viewers would hopefully stick around to see the future "air links" get covered. So will this feature increase time spent or decrease bounce? That's the question. My guess is that the viewer patterns will follow the same path as internet viewers in that, time spent will increase. So this isn't "link journalism" as Scott Karp defines it, but it is a move in the right direction to give viewers more content in which to evaluate on the fly. Over at outbrain, we are providing a similar service for many large publishers on their new sites, Turner included, where the outbrain recommendation engine providers readers with additional links that might be interesting. As an example you can see outbrain recommended links at the footer of this post under the rating stars.
So kudos to the folks over at CNN audience development and to the programming directors @ "No Bias No Bull" for trying this. The next step is to provide external links to stories happening on other channels. Imagine that? But if the internet is right, this is not as crazy as it sounds. CNN just might find that more people will stay with them longer throughout the day *if* they point them to the best stories, whether on CNN or not.