UPDATE 7/25/11, 3:18 p.m. PST : The AP has responded to some of my points. Their statements are below.
If anything, the AP’s decision to start linking to original sources is a hindrance. Because now, in addition to news outlets everywhere reproducing the same exact stories, they will all include unlinked bit.ly URLs.
Trust me, I’m all for hyperlinking. It’s the fabric of the web, what makes the web functional, and I think more newspapers should be doing it — and more often. But what we have here is a technology problem and an ideology problem. I’m sure if the AP could write through stories using HTML (and, of course, have that HTML stripped once it hits the print CMS), they would do it. Or at least I hope they would. But their solution of including bit.ly links — in parentheticals — isn’t the way to credit newspapers or drive traffic.