It’s kind of stunning that we’re already nearing the end of the year. I’m so proud of you reporters for how much you’ve challenged yourself and grown during your time with StateImpact.
Here in Washington, we’ve kept busy with some features changes and additions to make your sites even more awesome. The key changes that are now live on your sites:
1.) Topics Pages
We love, love LOVE topics pages at StateImpact, so during our most recent development cycle, we gave our pages a facelift. There are two new topic page regions you’ll want to take advantage of. One is “Key Stories,” which will allow you to pick out up to three of your favorite stories on a topic and feature them more prominently. The second change is the addition of a right-rail region called “Multimedia,” where you can feature your interactive maps and data apps that live on their own URLs. This screencast walks you through how it works. You’ll also notice that your featured image for topics pages now automatically surfaces next to the headline, which saves you from adding photos into the background area if you don’t want to. In addition, for any topics pages that have long backgrounds, you can now add a continue reading “jump” in the text so that area doesn’t run as long. Review the map to the new topics pages to see all the changes.
2.) Flexible Legislative Modules
In advance of new legislative sessions in your states, we’ve teamed up with the Sunlight Foundation’s Open States project, which has coordinated developers across the country to scrape up-to-date state lawmaker and bill information in all 50 states. The data on lawmakers is available to anyone who can pull it down, so that’s what we’ve done in order to create new legislative widgets you can include in your posts and topic pages. Anytime you write about a lawmaker or a bill, you can give your readers more information about where the bill is in the process, or how to contact the lawmaker, by creating a little module. Our documentation walks you through the simple process.
Please try and work in some legislative modules into your existing topic pages or upcoming posts so you can test out the workflow and let us know what you think. In addition, we want to hear from you about features you’d love to see in your back end or on your sites. What’s working, what’s not? Let me know.