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canetoad

The Rapidian

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The GR Community Media Center is about to launch The Rapidian, a citizen journalism web project covering Grand Rapids. They'll be launching in time for ArtPrize, so there will be all kinds of coverage of, especially, the smaller, off-the-beaten path artists and stories that come up. They're also still looking for citizen reporters - text, photography, audio, video, for the launch and beyond.

There's a training meeting September 3rd, and you can sign up at the Rapidian web page: http://therapidian.org

This is going to be a pretty exciting addition to (alternative) news in Grand Rapids, and for community building! (Full disclosure: I'm on the steering committee). The site officially launches September 15th.

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The GR Community Media Center is about to launch The Rapidian, a citizen journalism web project covering Grand Rapids. They'll be launching in time for ArtPrize, so there will be all kinds of coverage of, especially, the smaller, off-the-beaten path artists and stories that come up. They're also still looking for citizen reporters - text, photography, audio, video, for the launch and beyond.

There's a training meeting September 3rd, and you can sign up at the Rapidian web page: http://therapidian.org

This is going to be a pretty exciting addition to (alternative) news in Grand Rapids, and for community building! (Full disclosure: I'm on the steering committee). The site officially launches September 15th.

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There's going to be a great article about The Rapidian in tomorrow's Rapid Growth (so I hear). :)

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I think there is a great future in hyperlocal media. The 'big' media, like Advance/Mlive are sort of making it, but not so much. The local bloggers are too far and few apart.

We need some combination of these two platforms. To be a success in the market, each have to work together to become a network that can organize, enable, and monetize their content. The newspaper can create the journalism, and the local bloggers can provide reporting.

If you take the GR Press as a for instance... how many reporters do they have that cover the local communities on a regular basis? Having one reporter per city/town just isn't enough to cover all the stories that should/could be told.

Maybe this thing will be modeled like a couple of other sites from a 2005 by the NYU School of Journalism article.

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The Rapidian has been talking with other local media about collaborations between journalists/stories, so we hope that this citizen journalism venture will be one of collaboration and cooperation, to make our area news better and broader, rather than existing on its own. So hopefully this effort will address these concerns, which I agree with!

I think there is a great future in hyperlocal media. The 'big' media, like Advance/Mlive are sort of making it, but not so much. The local bloggers are too far and few apart.

We need some combination of these two platforms. To be a success in the market, each have to work together to become a network that can organize, enable, and monetize their content. The newspaper can create the journalism, and the local bloggers can provide reporting.

If you take the GR Press as a for instance... how many reporters do they have that cover the local communities on a regular basis? Having one reporter per city/town just isn't enough to cover all the stories that should/could be told.

Maybe this thing will be modeled like a couple of other sites from a 2005 by the NYU School of Journalism article.

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The GR Community Media Center is about to launch The Rapidian, a citizen journalism web project covering Grand Rapids. They'll be launching in time for ArtPrize, so there will be all kinds of coverage of, especially, the smaller, off-the-beaten path artists and stories that come up. They're also still looking for citizen reporters - text, photography, audio, video, for the launch and beyond.

There's a training meeting September 3rd, and you can sign up at the Rapidian web page: http://therapidian.org

This is going to be a pretty exciting addition to (alternative) news in Grand Rapids, and for community building! (Full disclosure: I'm on the steering committee). The site officially launches September 15th.

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As a project of the CMC, The Rapidian is absolutely committed to providing a forum for a wide range of voices, backgrounds, perspectives, etc. - certainly there is no agenda in terms of what gets covered or what point of view is endorsed (indeed, there is no endorsement of any content on the site, though readers will have the opportunity to rate and respond to news stories themselves). It's totally community-driven - we just provide the framework. So, when I say "alternative," which, as you point out, is one of those hotplate terms, I mean it in terms of who has access to producing news, a new kind of outlet for producing news, and a non-commercial alternative to mainstream news. It's totally about the framework here, not about the content.

Today's Rapid Growth article spells out the project pretty well: http://www.rapidgrowthmedia.com/features/rapidian082709.aspx

Hopefully that article answers some of these questions and assuages some of these concerns.

Sounds good.

But for the love of God, dont turn it into an online version of "The Paper" type of publication, that started out great, but turned into some leftist rant mag.

If these people want to be taken seriously as a legit news source, they will keep to reporting facts and not engaging in activism. People will smell that from a mile away.

Hearing the word "alternative" already being used, is not giving me a lot of confidence they are going to play it straight.

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As a project of the CMC, The Rapidian is absolutely committed to providing a forum for a wide range of voices, backgrounds, perspectives, etc. - certainly there is no agenda in terms of what gets covered or what point of view is endorsed (indeed, there is no endorsement of any content on the site, though readers will have the opportunity to rate and respond to news stories themselves). It's totally community-driven - we just provide the framework. So, when I say "alternative," which, as you point out, is one of those hotplate terms, I mean it in terms of who has access to producing news, a new kind of outlet for producing news, and a non-commercial alternative to mainstream news. It's totally about the framework here, not about the content.

Today's Rapid Growth article spells out the project pretty well: http://www.rapidgrowthmedia.com/features/rapidian082709.aspx

Hopefully that article answers some of these questions and assuages some of these concerns.

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Although I hope for the best, I doubt this will float. The only way this is going to be a success is if this catches a large loyal passionate fanbase quickly. http://www.everyblock.com/, and http://outside.in/ are already highly developed news websites targeted at the neighborhood level that get from 1/4 million to 1.5 million unique visitors a edit: "month" and growing fast.

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Although I hope for the best, I doubt this will float. The only way this is going to be a success is if this catches a large loyal passionate fanbase quickly. http://www.everyblock.com/, and http://outside.in/ are already highly developed news websites targeted at the neighborhood level that get from 1/4 million to 1.5 million unique visitors a day and growing fast.

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everyblock doesn't even have a Grand Rapids section, and outside.in is a news aggregator. What happens when there are no local news bureaus to aggregate? (Ann Arbor for instance).

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I can tell you that The Rapidian's design is original, and we are building it on Drupal, the open source content system, from scratch. I can also tell you it will look quite different from everyblock, though it may share a few of the same features (geotagged/mapped stories, for example, and a focus on neighborhoods). Having seen the design mock-ups, I think it looks really beautiful and user-friendly. The Rapidian will also be hyperlocal, consisting of physical neighborhood news bureaus that will cover neighborhood issues and events, and cater in design and content to local needs, unlike everyblock. This will be more than a website - it's a network of citizen reporters and reporting.

As to the concern about drumming up a loyal fanbase, you may be right that it's difficult for it to take off, but I'm feeling pretty good about it as we already have over 40 reporters signed on and we don't launch for another few weeks. I'm not without my worries, but I really do think this could become an amazing and useful resource for our community (and communities), and serve as template for other communities to draw from.

Everyblock is actually one of the highlights of the Knight foundation. From what I gather, Everyblock was started by a grant by the Knight foundation, exactly the way the Rapidian is. And how the knight foundation sets things up, the Rapidian might be a very close replica of what Everyblock might look like. One of the requirements of the Knight Foundation for "News Challenge winners" is that the software used in the these sites they fund must to be publicly available as free

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I can tell you that The Rapidian's design is original, and we are building it on Drupal, the open source content system, from scratch. I can also tell you it will look quite different from everyblock, though it may share a few of the same features (geotagged/mapped stories, for example, and a focus on neighborhoods). Having seen the design mock-ups, I think it looks really beautiful and user-friendly. The Rapidian will also be hyperlocal, consisting of physical neighborhood news bureaus that will cover neighborhood issues and events, and cater in design and content to local needs, unlike everyblock. This will be more than a website - it's a network of citizen reporters and reporting.

As to the concern about drumming up a loyal fanbase, you may be right that it's difficult for it to take off, but I'm feeling pretty good about it as we already have over 40 reporters signed on and we don't launch for another few weeks. I'm not without my worries, but I really do think this could become an amazing and useful resource for our community (and communities), and serve as template for other communities to draw from.

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Something worth highlighting from tonight's meeting: while anyone can sign up to report or comment, ya have to use your real name. Period.

This will obviate the wild Mlive-style postings, the type that swing from a rifle range's impact on a music festival to the governor's appearance, in just a few keystrokes.

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Something worth highlighting from tonight's meeting: while anyone can sign up to report or comment, ya have to use your real name. Period.

This will obviate the wild Mlive-style postings, the type that swing from a rifle range's impact on a music festival to the governor's appearance, in just a few keystrokes.

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That's the smartest move an online media operation has made in a looooong time. I don't know why a real Name/City is required for Letters to the Editor in the tree killing edition of The Press but any swingin' dork can sound off on an article online with no name accountability.

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The Rapidian is very close to launching (Tuesday the 15th!), and I wanted to invite the photographers on here to contribute to our Flickr group - I see so many great photos of GR on here, it would be lovely to have them in one place where they could be included on the site.

Here's the group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/therapidian/

Also, there's a launch party for the beta site on Tuesday at 4pm at Wealthy Theatre, and I hear rumors of champagne! Come join the fun!

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=6649...id=148225247480

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The Rapidian is very close to launching (Tuesday the 15th!), and I wanted to invite the photographers on here to contribute to our Flickr group - I see so many great photos of GR on here, it would be lovely to have them in one place where they could be included on the site.

Here's the group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/therapidian/

Also, there's a launch party for the beta site on Tuesday at 4pm at Wealthy Theatre, and I hear rumors of champagne! Come join the fun!

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=6649...id=148225247480

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Good deal! I'll be there late - but I'll be there!

I'll be there canetoad. We'll have to meet formally at some point. :)

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Michigan Radio has been promoting The Rapidian quite a bit the past couple of days. I'll certainly be adding it to my "News" bookmarks.

I'm hoping it won't suffer from the same editorial timidity that the GR Press always labored/lumbered under. Mustn't piss off those almighty advertisers, don'tcha know!

I take heart from the fact that its birthplace is the GR Community Media Center; one of the coolest information resources we have.

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