arrow Products
Glide CMS image Glide CMS image
Glide CMS arrow
The powerful intuitive headless CMS for busy content and editorial teams, bursting with features and sector insight. MACH architecture gives you business freedom.
Glide Go image Glide Go image
Glide Go arrow
Enterprise power at start-up speed. Glide Go is a pre-configured deployment of Glide CMS with hosting and front-end problems solved.
Glide Nexa image Glide Nexa image
Glide Nexa arrow
Audience authentication, entitlements, and preference management in one system designed for publishers and content businesses.
For your sector arrow arrow
Media & Entertainment
arrow arrow
Built for any content to thrive, whomever it's for. Get content out faster and do more with it.
Sports & Gaming
arrow arrow
Bring fans closer to their passions and deliver unrivalled audience experiences wherever they are.
Publishing
arrow arrow
Tailored to the unique needs of publishing so you can fully focus on audiences and content success.
For your role arrow arrow
Technology
arrow arrow
Unlock resources and budget with low-code & no-code solutions to do so much more.
Editorial & Content
arrow arrow
Make content of higher quality quicker, and target it with pinpoint accuracy at the right audiences.
Developers
arrow arrow
MACH architecture lets you kickstart development, leveraging vast native functionality and top-tier support.
Commercial & Marketing
arrow arrow
Speedrun ideas into products, accelerate ROI, convert interest, and own the conversation.
Technology Partners arrow
AWS image
AWS
arrow arrow
Vercel image
Vercel
arrow arrow
Pugpig image
Pugpig
arrow arrow
Poool image
Poool
arrow arrow
Solution Partners arrow
Code Store image
Code Store
arrow arrow
The App Lab image
The App Lab
arrow arrow
Polemic Digital image
Polemic Digital
arrow arrow
Made by Many image
Made by Many
arrow arrow
Industry Insights arrow arrow
News
arrow arrow
News from inside our world, about Glide Publishing Platform, our customers, and other cool things.
Comment
arrow arrow
Insight and comment about the things which make content and publishing better - or sometimes worse.
Newsletter
arrow arrow
The Content Aware weekly newsletter, with news and comment every Thursday.
Knowledge arrow arrow
Customer Support
arrow arrow
Learn more about the unrivalled customer support from the team at Glide.
Documentation
arrow arrow
User Guides and Technical Documentation for Glide Publishing Platform headless CMS, Glide Go, and Glide Nexa.
Developer Experience
arrow arrow
Learn more about using Glide headless CMS, Glide Go, and Glide Nexa identity management.

Bylines, author pages, and anonymity - an underrated asset for publishers

Bylines are a little unloved for anything other than their basic purpose. Are publishers ignoring a way of adding authority to their content?

by Rob Corbidge
Published: 14:12, 25 May 2023

Rob Corbidge is Head of Content Intelligence at Glide Publishing Platform, applying the latest knowledge about advances and ideas in the publishing industry to our own product and helping clients get the most from their content.

Watercolor illustration  of a writer's notebook with a question mark drawn inside by Stable Diffusion

Byline banditry has long been a feature of journalism and content production.  

Success having many parents, and failure being an orphan, the urge felt by many self-respecting journalists to append their name to content wherever possible is an understandable one. 

The classic example - which I and other Glide staff have definitely been victim of, in our junior days in newsrooms - is of all the hard miles being completed by a junior reporter, only to have a senior name give it the final polish and stick their name on it at the top.

In a world where Managing Editors may check byline counts as a reference for productivity, such underhandedness could be a condition of survival.

There's more to it than that of course. A byline is still a thing to be proud of and every journalist I know can remember their very first one.

Most publishers prioritise brand over individuality, a strategy that reminds me of a policeman friend who observed, "If they see the uniform, they don't see your face." For the most part, this is sensible, even as we see the rise of "personality journalists", a strong brand can generate genuine long-term loyalty and navigate difficult waters in a way a collection of individuals never could.

Even if we assume brand is bigger than journalist for most publishers, is enough made of bylines? Wary as I am of using The New York Times as an example of much in publishing - not because they are bad, just that the NYT experience is very different to most publishing realities - an announcement of enhanced bylines being brought into production by the NYT does seem relatable to a wider consideration.

Such enhanced bylines in the case of the NYT are being used to highlight presence and effort. If they have a journalist on the ground reporting directly from a story, there are circumstances in which a reader could be reassured from knowing that. 

Likewise, if efforts have been spent for example in working up a story involving historical records research, then the value in the work of that reporter to the reader can be made plain. It also serves to remind the reader why they are paying for the product.

Technically, in a flexible and headless CMS such as GPP, utilising a field for this purpose isn't complex. More challenging is the use to which it is put. 

A click-through byline to other articles written by the same journalist is now reasonably standard and is of clear utility in driving extra traffic. A lot of sites, such as The Wall Street Journal or The South China Morning Post, carry short professional biographies for news writers on the byline click-through, explaining their credentials, and other information such as their social media and so on.

There's a clear value in this, not least after Google in its omniscience stressed Experience as a quality factor announcement in December last year.

Personally, I do value such biographical details. If I read a strong piece of reporting or come across a new idea adroitly expressed, or just delight in some good writing, then I want to have an idea who is behind it.

A caution though, such biographical fields, once filled out, can stay filled out the same way forever. In most cases, that may be acceptable, however, making a journalist or content creator see the value of such biographical information, and take ownership of its maintenance, is the right way to go. It's not a completely static asset, to use dev talk. 

A procedure for updating when someone leaves is also highly desirable of course, and some guidelines for the type of details people are expected to share.

There's also still a place for no bylines at all, or at least not in the 'proper' sense. Some people can't use their real names, for a variety of reasons; some content, such as the classic political diary where multiple smaller pieces of content are grouped and rumours and attributable comments can be surfaced, serve a good purpose under a collective nom de plume.

Google can take our experience and mine it for their own gold, but they'll never take our gossip.

Latest articles

Journalism under surveillance takes a new turn as OpenAI asks to see your notebooks
OpenAI's dystopian hello to journalists and publishers
arrow button
a person running away from technology
Quit running from news: fear of fakery is greater than the fake itself
arrow button
Googles golden jail cell and the problem of the internet
Google's golden jail cell is a metaphor for the web, and we're all struggling to break out
arrow button

Ready to get started?

No matter where you are on your CMS journey, we're here to help. Want more info or to see Glide Publishing Platform in action? We got you.

Book a demo