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Alaska Dispatch

Award Category 
Drupal Version 
Brief Overview 

The owners of Alaska Dispatch believe they are paving the way nationally for what will be the future of online journalism -- locally produced stories presented on for-profit websites. From political corruption to climate change to rural Alaska to the rise of Sarah Palin, Alaska media has struggled to cover stories of importance not only to Alaskans but to the rest of the nation. Alaska Dispatch, Alaska's online-only news site founded by Tony Hopfinger in 2008, is devoted to filling this journalism void. In mid-2009, Alice Rogoff, a longtime supporter of journalism and a former chief financial officer of U.S. News and World Report, became the majority owner of Alaska Dispatch Publishing LLC, and the site expanded to employ writers, editors and a full-time sales team.

Launch or Publication Date 
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Alaska Dispatch
Key Modules, Theme, and Distribution Used 
Custom responsive advertising module. Login Radius and FB social for social integration. Views Slideshow with custom hooks and JS for responsive photo galleries. Omega base theme. Dropped Open Publish distribution in D7 upgrade to allow for more customization without requiring workarounds
Why these Modules, Theme, and Distribution were Chosen 

Ad module was created to allow switching of ad positions based on screen size. This allows us to serve up one size on desktop and a different size in the same position on the tablet version. The goal is to convert this solution into a contrib module with abstractions to use plugins of individual ad providers.

An array of modules provide social media integration, such as Login Radius for social sign-in and FB Social for Facebook commenting, provide social media integration. This helps the site, with its strong Facebook presence in Alaska, maintain a competitive edge over the local competition.
 

 

Using the adaptive, HTML5 base theme Omega, the site offers optimized experience for various sized devices and screens, including appropriate-sized ad units for each display and features swipe gesture detection for browsing photo galleries from touch devices.

 

Owner's Name 
AlaskaDispatch
Development Company 
Mediacurrent
We are home to an elite team of Drupal developers, who have a proven track record of building amazing websites. Mediacurrent has worked hard at setting the bar high and has the portfolio to prove it. We can build any kind of website – from a simple blog to an enterprise-level Drupal site with millions of visitors. We strongly believe in open-source principles, collaboration, and sharing knowledge to strengthen the Drupal community. We organize Drupalcamps, meet-ups, generate white papers, blog, give presentations, sponsor events, and provide training. We are headquartered in metro-Atlanta, Georgia.
Why Drupal Was Chosen 
Alaska Dispatch originally launched on Joomla, but its rapid growth created a need for the scale and flexibility that Drupal and Acquia's hosting could provide. A redesigned site launched on Drupal 6 in 2011 using Open Publish.
Describe the Project (Goals, Requirements, and Outcome) 

Alaska Dispatch wanted to bundle the upgrade to Drupal 7 with a refreshed design, cleanup of some legacy content issues from Joomla and capitalize on responsive web design to better serve a growing number of site visitors accessing the site from mobile devices. Upon launch the client called the new alaskadispatch.com "the site we have always wanted."

Type of Nomination 
Website