There were two big news stories that flowed through Reuters and many other media channels in the last 48 hours. The first was the death of singer Whitney Houston, the second was the election process in Venezuela. I noticed something interesting in both stories - the title and contributors attributed by the agency were altered at least once for the content pointed to by the URL.
In the case of Whitney Houston, the first version, which was associated with the name Xavier Briand, was titled 'Singer Whitney Houston dies'. This was later changed to 'Whitney Houston found dead in hotel, age 48' and associated with Mary Slosson, Bob Tourtellotte and Eric Beech.
In the case of the election, the article was originally titled 'Venezuela's Capriles set for opposition primary win' but now goes under the title 'Venezuela's Capriles to run against socialist Chavez'.
While it is of some use to have the URLs recycled so that visitors will always get the most up to date version of the story, I can't help but think that there might be a better way to capture the evolution of the topic in a more explicit manner.
[Note that it is actually a little tricky to demonstrate that this is in fact going on. I have found, however, that with the Venezuela story there are other sites which report the title in the original form with the link that has the altered title. Note also that I'm not stating there is anything wrong with this, it is more of an opportunity loss for the reader. Note finally that it confuses the hell out of Google's visual summary mechanism - the text snippet, image snippet and highlighting conspire to demonstrate how the data changes over time.
Here, for example, is the image cache/preview feature for this Reuters URL from Google:
Update: here is another great example - 'Peru says Shining Path rebel leader found dead' replaced by 'Peru captures wounded Shining Path rebel leader'.