One of the issues Digg has always struggled with is that it can take quite a while before a breaking news story hits the front page. Waiting for enough users to vote a story up can sometimes take a few hours and in this age of real-time breaking news, Digg's lag doesn't make it an attractive destination for news junkies. Now, Digg is trying to change this by adding an editorial layer to some parts of the site. Starting today, Digg will add a breaking news/interesting stories module that will be managed and curated by Digg's community team. This team will aggregate stories that they think should be on the Digg front page but haven't garnered enough votes by the community yet.

These curated modules will appear on the top right side of the Top News, My News and Upcoming pages.

As far as we can see, these editors' decisions won't directly affect the content that appears on the front page, but their recommendations will surely influence the stories that the Digg community will vote for. After all, these modules are in a very prominent position on the most popular pages on Digg.

Votes, Algorithms and Editors: Taking the Hybrid Approach

This approach is similar to how the popular tech news aggregator Techmeme handles breaking news stories. While Techmeme's algorithms decide most of the content that appears on the site's front page, a group of editors also ensures that breaking news stories are posted to the site as quickly as possible. Asked about Digg's new approach, Techmeme's founder Gabe Rivera told us that he believes that "all bottom up approaches for surfacing news like voting and link analysis can benefit from curation from the top. Voters and linkers are critical, but they mainly care about the stories they're pushing or writing about, not the overall mission of the news aggregator, which isn't their job."

Will This Help Digg to Get Back on Its Feet?

The recent launch of Digg v4 quickly turned into a major disaster for the site, as as the new infrastructure turned out to be rather fragile and unhappy users decamped to other sites. Throughout this time, though, the Digg team continued to state that it wants to make the site a more interesting destination for mainstream users. By adding a more curated experience that can break stories faster, Digg could be on its way to achieving this goal.

How Will Digg's Users React?

On the other hand, though, Digg's power users are extremely sensitive when it comes to anything that looks like it could manipulate the site's democratic voting system and the editorial team now wields a lot of influence over which stories get popular and which sites get traffic from Digg. We will have to see how Digg's users react to this, but the first reactions from the site's users are actually quite positive.