States Newsroom

An aggregated news site with advanced search and automated tagging features

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State Newsroom Case study header

States Newsroom is a non-profit network of over 25 affiliate sites covering state reporting in America. With headquarters in Washington and multiple local teams totaling over 95 staff, the site provides high-quality, non-partisan state reporting with a progressive editorial approach. In order to maintain their ad-free and impartial reporting standards, their philanthropic business model relies on transparent donations from individuals or grants but not corporations or governments.

25+

Websites

100+

Thousand Imported Articles

100%

Automated News Fetching

Overview

The site needed to be a user-friendly, responsive umbrella platform for content pulled from over 25 affiliate sites. Using only open source technology, Vardot built State Newsroom a news site with intuitive user experience and search functionality, as well as fully automated categorization and tagging capabilities.

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State Newsroom case study Overview img

Key Functionality 

  • Customized RSS feed module for the real-time importing of bulk content from over 25 affiliate sites 

  • OpenCalais, a semantic web service that uses Natural Language Processing for advanced categorization and tagging
  • Solr Search, a hyper-fast, enterprise-grade search platform 

Intuitive UX/UI

As a news site with over 25 RSS feeds, the user experience was made easy to navigate by simplifying content categorization to be state-specific with just 8 theme categories. Customized RSS feeds, standardized display, advanced tagging, and search web services completed Vardot’s approach to creating a user-centric news site for the State Newsroom team.

 

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RSS feed img

Custom RSS Feed

A custom RSS feed was built to pull all existing and future articles from WordPress into Drupal. Vardot designed news site-specific pages and article layouts to automatically display the original article in a visually appealing and standardized format. To date, over 100,000 articles have been pulled into the news aggregator site.

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Auto Tagging

Automated Tagging

Working in unison with the RSS feed, web service OpenCalais used Natural Language Processing to scan every article for keywords which were then used to auto-create suitable tagging. These tags were then automatically used to match the article to one of the 8 streamlined categories. Legacy categorization mapping to the new categorization standards was catered for to ensure that older content was optimized for any current searches.

User Centric Administration

The State Newsroom team was supplied with a fully customized administrator back end that could be easily updated with no technical expertise.  Drupal’s Layout Builder with it’s easy-to-use drag and drop functionality, allowed administrators to design pages based on custom templates. Administrators could add to or customize the site and the automated processes through a dashboard that covered permissions, page and article level edits.

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Solar Search img

Advanced Search

The other aspect of a great news site user experience is advanced and accurate search capabilities. The Vardot team implemented Solr Search, a super-fast enterprise search platform, to ensure that each article was well written and displayed, tagged, as well as being easily discoverable by relevant site search queries. Site administrators could also hide or display information at the page and categorization level, adding customization levers to the automated processes. 

Advanced Hosting

The site had a large amount of content and data. Using Vardot’s hosting to ensure excellent website load speed and performance was critical to completing the ideal news site user experience.

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State Newsroom case study Overview

The Results

With a complimentary selection of advanced open source solutions, States Newsroom is set up with a scalable enterprise-grade news site that can continue their goal of providing high quality state reporting and excellent user experiences.

 

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