My sense is that link value can be any of the above.
On some types of websites, links can lose value over time even if the pages doesn't fall to the archives because of the type of resource in classification.
Just as Google classifies particular websites and organizes search results returned around specific query "types", I believe it too values links based on this.
Therefore, I suggest that an aged University page with the theoretical same number and quality of backlinks as a particular post on a blog would in fact pass more value over time, whereas news related items might pass value faster due to the freshness factor we have seen demonstrated in the SERPs
The idea of building links to a link is sound. This is a principle I have used to great effect especially when you are able to secure a wide range of very high end authority links for an unlimited amount of time, that are exclusive to you through an arrangement or partnership (or respect) :)