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Because Daily Kos has "two halves"--the diaries, and what over time has become known as the "front page"--it's inevitable that many subjects will be covered in both places, sometimes with common links and similar comment, analysis and editorializing. This sometimes causes consternation among some Kossacks, who wonder if the contributing editor got the idea for the post from first reading a diary. Folks also sometimes wonder why some subjects are covered quickly and others may not make the front page for some hours after the story first broke. To help answer these questions, let me describe how the front page works.

Back in the early days of DKos, there were only a handful of contributing editors. Markos would generally pump out the content Monday through Thursday, and what were then called guest bloggers but later became known as contributing editors would take care of Fridays and the weekends. Over time, Markos decided that the best approach was to make DKos a fully group blog, and the division of days ended. People posted whatever, whenever.

This system worked well for a while, but as he added more contributing editors, it became clear that more coordination was needed. To provide that coordination, Markos appointed SusanG executive editor. Susan has many responsibilities, but her main job is to keep track of who's writing what, coordinate between the contributing editors to make sure nobody is unnecessarily duplicating efforts, and ensure that posts roll out throughout the day.

Daily Kos is not "scoop" driven. We don't feel a need to be the first blog to cover a breaking story. We write in many styles and genres, but our forte' is analysis and commentary. Thus, many of our posts aren't highly time sensitive. But others, of course, are.

To help manage the posts, and to create a place to "park" stories before they're published to the front page, a couple years ago ct, who handles the tech side of the site, created a story queue. This allows Susan, or whoever is covering for her, to shuffle around the order in which stories will publish to the front page.

This system has many advantages over the previous systems. For instance, it allows contributing editors to write a piece but not be present when it's published. The major shortcoming, however, was that it required someone to be present to manually publish pieces from the queue to the front page. Therefore, ct further tweaked things to create a scheduler, so that Susan or whoever is covering for her can schedule stories, thus freeing them to be able to step away from the computer for a little while, or to schedule the early morning posts that begin to show up at roughly 7:00 AM EDT, but without requiring Susan to wake up in California at 4:00 AM.

The order of the queue is juggled throughout the day. Some posts need to go on a given day, but it's not necessary that they go immediately. Some aren't time sensitive at all and can sit in the queue for a few days. Others must immediately go to the front page. Thus, the planned content  is in flux throughout the day. One result of this flux is that sometimes something covered in a diary at 11:00 AM EDT won't get attention on the front page until late afternoon. It does not, however, mean that the story was just recently written, or that the contributing editor was aware of diaries that were being written at the same time she was writing her post, or that went up on the site after her post was written but possibly several hours before it was published to the front page.

We try to acknowledge with links discussions that are taking place in particularly active diaries, or give credit to diarists who found some nugget that we use in our own posts. But the fact that something is mentioned in a diary several hours before it's again mentioned on the front page doesn't mean that it was lifted from a diary.

We're constantly refining the site. There's also a lot of development happening for a new design, the next version of Daily Kos. What happens now will repeatedly be supplanted by something newer, and hopefully better. We'll do our best to keep you informed of logistical and editorial practices that help give you greater understanding and enjoyment of the site.

Originally posted to Dana Houle on Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 10:55 AM PDT.

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