One of the enviable things about working for Google is the 20% policy the company gives its engineers. It basically says they should devote part of each week to work on what they’re most passionate about.
While we don’t see the “failure” produced during that time, we do know that successes such as Gmail, Google News and AdSense were developed with it.
Does this translate to the newsroom?
While not quite the same, Espen Egil Hansen, editor-in-chief of Norway’s VG Multimedia, told those at this weekend’s International Symposium on Online Journalism that he expects his journalists to spend 10 percent of their time engaging readers.
The move is smart. Instead of relying on a dedicated community manager or a few self-motivaters to engage across social networks, VG bakes the activity into its overall culture. While not solely responsible for the results, the fact remains that 87% of Norwegians visited the site in February.
These readers also help improve the paper’s quality.
VG has tools that let readers have at typos. In 2010, 17,000 were corrected.
No news on what the site’s copyeditors had to say about that.