Policies

Enumerated policies of Interactive News

Working hours

The goal of this team is to be an integral part of the newsroom. A principal component of that is simply being here when our coworkers need us, so our working hours must overlap with the rest of the newsroom. Team members should be in by 10 a.m. as a course of habit. We will be flexible as projects need us to be, but the mean we revert to should be a regular morning start time.

Comp time

Often projects will cause us to work a longer day to meet a deadline. If you work overtime on deadline, you are entitled to claim that time back once you're off deadline.

Some general principles to guide your use of comp time:

  • Generally, comp time should only be accrued on deadline. We can't let you simply front-load your work hours regularly. That said, if you need to shave a couple hours off of one day for a personal errand on another, that's OK in moderation.

  • Comp time due to work outside the office is assessed based on a loose accounting between you and the Interactive News team editors. "Loose" because a strict tally would require more scrutiny over exactly how you spent that time than either you or your editors want.

  • Accruing and spending comp time in bulk are both bad for our team. The former risks burnout and will affect the quality of your work. The latter will strain your relationship with the newsroom.

Working off-site

Sometimes you need to work outside the office, and that's OK. Remote work is inevitable but it also trades against our goal of being responsive to the newsroom, so use it rarely.

If you need to work from home due to a personal errand, like overseeing apartment maintenance or collecting a package, you can. You'll be expected to be available by Slack and, it goes without saying, actually working. Please limit your time away to a partial day like a morning or an afternoon. You must clear off-site time with an editor before the day you intend to take it.

While we want to be in the newsroom on a daily basis, the usual newsroom buzz can also be distracting if you're charging down a complicated project. Taking a "tunnel day" is a way to unplug and concentrate on a specific project deadline. To take a tunnel day, you must set clear goals with an editor and check-in with progress at least once during your day. This is a rarer privilege but useful sometimes to get a project over the line.

Time off approval

All time off, including comp time, must be approved ahead of time. Requesting time off same-day should only happen in exceptional circumstances, medical or otherwise. Please use the company time-off app to request time.

Code of conduct

Team members are subject to all our corporate policies regarding conduct and interpersonal behavior and should report abuses as specified in company guidelines.

In addition, we'd like to add a few extra guidelines specific to this team's work:

  • All ideas are welcome and must be respected that are offered in good faith.

  • Orient project reviews, priority debates and other discussions around improving our team's output and POLITICO's journalistic standing.

  • No one's work on any one project is more important than the cohesion of the team. Conduct yourself accordingly.

  • Any discussion that strays into personal criticism should be ended immediately and not begun again until a superior editor is present.

  • Be willing to criticize your code dispassionately, but passionately defend the goals of your project.

  • Critically evaluate the process as much as the product. Anything we do once, we'll do again.

Publishing outside politico.com

One of best parts of working on this team is that we can proudly represent our work to our peers. We encourage you to take advantage of that opportunity to write about what you do, both the technical and philosophical aspects of your work, in trade journals, magazines and on social media. It makes us more thoughtful about what we do, opens up communications channels that help us learn from others and increases our profile in the community.

It's equally important that we acknowledge our professional reputation is intertwined with the company that employs us when we post our thoughts online.

In order to head-off conflicts and (oftentimes worse) surprises, you must send your editors the full text of any posts that will be published in a trade magazine or site or that will be published with your job title. If you have an editor working with you at the trade publication, you should send your POLITICO editors both your draft before first review and the last edited draft before publishing. Your editors will share those drafts with others in the company and may ask you to make changes. In most cases, our edits will simply be designed to help sharpen your thoughts, but we may also have to intercede to deconflict them with the public representation of the team or the company. In an extreme case, we may have to ask you not to publish the piece.

This policy only applies to publication in trade magazines or sites. For posts on social media, seek out POLITICO's official social media policy for guidance. For any other questions seek out HR. As always, any POLITICO policy supersedes this one. Make sure you know what applies to your case.

Corrections

It happens. When it does, we want to act fast and surely. Haphazardly correcting mistakes may lead to more and hampers our ability to learn from them.

Our corrections policy has these three goals in this order of priority:

  1. Stop the spread of misinformation.

  2. Correct the error transparently.

  3. Leave an audit trail to learn.

When you notice an error in a published piece, do these things in this order:

  • Immediately notify your editors and any production staff promoting the story, e.g., social teams, homepage and our business partners.

    • Use both email and Slack if you can't speak to someone directly.

    • Txt your editors if they don't immediately respond.

  • If the error is egregious, take down the page or component of the page.

  • On twitter, reply to any tweet you've made promoting the piece with a pending correction and screenshot of the tweet, then delete the original tweet.

  • If the error can't be fixed quickly, replace the page with one that includes the headline and byline of the original content but with large text explaining the page was removed pending a correction. Replace a component with a text block.

  • Correct the error and add a correction to the page.

    • If the error is egregious put the correction at the top of the page, section or component. Otherwise, our style is to correct at the bottom of the page.

    • You must describe what was wrong in detail, but not how we were wrong. Use discretion before airing details about workflow or technical details.

<p class="correction">
An earlier version of this story TK in detail.
</p>
  • Notify your editors that you've published the correction and send them the text. They may want to approve the text before publishing.

  • Search social media for users who have shared our misinformation and reply to them with a correction and link to the corrected piece.

    • We can't get them all, but making an honest effort is part of our responsibility and signals that we care about getting it right to our readers.

  • Once the correction is in place and you've done everything you can to stop the spread of our misinformation, file a correction memo. Share this with your editor.

  • Every correction will prompt a sit-down meeting with the team. The focus of that meeting is never to associate blame but to find out how best to stop similar errors from happening again.

Semi-annual review

We can't understate the importance of regularly evaluating our goals as a team and systematically addressing any challenges to our progress.

Your editors will have a sit-down review with you twice each year. The goal of each review is to review major milestones, check up on a few conditions we think are fundamental to the team's success and to set and evaluate three goals that should orient your work over the next 6 months.

In preparation for our meeting, we'll both prepare a few things. Here are the major parts:

Major projects and milestones

In many ways, marking concrete progress and accomplishments is the most important part of your review. Every 6 months, your editors will write up the major projects you've worked on and major milestones we've seen in your development.

Weakest/Strongest

Each review, both you and your editors will write down what each thinks was the strongest and the weakest part of your work over the last 6 months.

These are your outliers, a strength that deserves special praise and a weakness that needs extra attention.

These can be soft or hard skills, but we want them to be things you have a major amount of control over. This isn't the place to point out how other people's work hinders or supports your own.

Three goals

Each review, we'll identify three goals to work towards over the next 6 months.

To measure progress, we'll ask you to score where you think you are on completing that goal on a 10-point scale. At the next review, we'll re-score your goals separately and discuss what progress we both think you've made.

Standing survey

As part of your review, we'll ask you to re-evaluate each of these statements on a 10-point scale from completely false to completely true. Each statement we consider a fundamental condition that must be true for our team to be successful.

  • I have a good work/life balance.

  • I get the direction and support I need from my editors.

  • My ideas are listened to and fairly evaluated on their merits within the team.

  • I have a strong, constructive relationship with the rest of the newsroom.

  • I understand and agree with the long-term goals of the team.

  • The types of projects I am working on are well-balanced for my skills.

  • I understand my role on the team and how it will develop.

  • I am learning new skills from my teammates.

  • The team is good at sharpening each other's ideas and coming up with new ideas together.

  • Team meetings are productive and well run.

  • Projects are managed well.

  • I have the right amount of exposure to other newsroom managers.

  • I understand the larger direction POLITICO is taking as a business.

A note on scales

In several parts of your review, we use a 10-point scale to quantitatively evaluate a goal or a condition. The point of using that scale isn't to nitpick small differences but to give you the space you need to honestly evaluate incremental progress across multiple reviews.

Epilogue

Once we've completed your review, we may share your collective answers, in summary, with our boss, Paul. Other than that, your answers will be kept in confidence.

We'll revisit them to orient your work and reevaluate your goals after 6 months.