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Welcome to the new

  • Author: David Hulen
  • Updated: July 14, 2016
  • Published May 31, 2016

Starting this week, Alaska Dispatch News online has a new look. We've given our site a makeover and we're using new tools to power it. Take a look around.

We've tried to make the site more intuitive, with a fresh, cleaner appearance. More stories are visible on the homepage, and it's easier to find what you're looking for. The site works equally well on phones, computers and tablets.

Bigger changes are happening under the hood. Starting this week, we're using the Arc suite of publishing tools developed by The Washington Post. They're the same tools that power the Post online. We're the first regional news site to adopt them. (Willamette Week, the alt-weekly in Portland, has been using Arc for a while.)

Look for faster load times and better performance. The tools give us much more flexibility to customize pages, update stories quickly and create different presentations for readers. As we ease into these tools, we'll have even more dynamic stories for you.

Coming soon: New, more robust and visually striking mobile and tablet apps.

In March, we asked for your input. Around 900 readers responded to a survey about our site and content. I was touched by how thoughtful many readers were in their comments and suggestions, both the criticisms and the praise. A common theme: Don't fix what isn't broken. Another: Do something about the comments.

We've tried to keep that in mind. Our most basic goal as we made decisions was to improve the experience for readers and build it so we can do more ambitious and meaningful journalism.

As for the comments, we switched in March to Civil Comments, and we're sticking with Civil on our rebooted site. We're happy with the move. The general nastiness — not to mention the constant spam attacks — is largely gone. It's safe to say the volume of comments has increased. The next step is to work to elevate the conversation. We have some ideas about how to do that. Stay tuned. How do you think it's going? How can we make it better?

Back to the site. We'll be rolling out changes over the next few days. As with any transition, there will be some bumps. We'd love to hear your feedback. Let us know with this form. You can always email me.

Thanks, as always, for reading.