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From the Rapidian staff

Each week, a Rapidian staffer will publish a piece related to goings-on at The Rapidian, developments in the world of citizen journalism and tips for making the most of the site. 

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THE FEED

And here's where I'm grateful: When it comes to The Rapidian, I don't need to wait ten years to know what I will remember down the road.
All arrows point somewhere in Siedman Park (and it's always a better hike when you go with neighbors).

/Photos by Denise Cheng

All arrows point somewhere in Siedman Park (and it's always a better hike when you go with neighbors).


Hanging out with my dear friend, <a href="http://therapidian.org/pic/plain-sight/tire-swings-are-dreamers">Motu</a>.

Hanging out with my dear friend, Motu.

Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported

Dusk was setting in, and as I lifted my arms over my head in yoga class, I thought about all the ways to say goodbye. I didn't have a clear idea of how, so mostly, I nestled into the sound of it. 

To say that I worked with The Rapidian for two and a half years would be accurate but, more than that, I breathed it.

I made up my job title: citizen journalism coordinator. Vague, right? That was intentional, and as we grew, I've had my hands in everything, from partnerships and collaborations to editorial structure and web strategy to design and outreach. Whew. I was always spinning from the rush and sparkle of more opportunities than we had time to grasp.

After more than two years in a city where I've learned (and am still learning) what's important, I am stepping down to pursue other opportunities. It's tempting to stay where you are when you're content, but that's the best time to push onward and open up. 

And here's where I'm grateful: I don't need to wait ten years to know what I will remember down the road. It's the people. 

I witnessed the end of a 30-year writer's block. I showed a rambunctious seven year-old how to use an audio recorder and was interviewed by a student about who I want to meet most in the world (a question I'm still chewing on seven months later). It was a community partner opening up to me about his ethnic-American experience in Grand Rapids, a woman who practiced in front of a mirror to find her voice in front of a camera, people who have never been invited to create media realizing that their perspectives meant something to people they had never met.

Somebody recently asked me if an idea he was mulling over was worthy of The Rapidian. I was surprised to hear him phrase it that way, because—cheese alert—really, I always think of it as, "is The Rapidian worthy of your story?" You are giving something of yourself when you contribute to this cooperative, and that's something to celebrate, something to be grateful for.

Growing up, my mom told me I traveled the world in my dreams (what she really meant was I'm a nightly toss-and-turner). In so many languages, "goodbye" promises a next encounter. Ci vediamo (Italian, we will see each other), hasta la vista (Spanish - until the seeing), zài jiàn (Chinese - see you again). I am so grateful, Grand Rapids, that you gave me a piece of yourself, and I hope that I've been able to give you a piece of me, too. Sala hantle (Sesotho - remain well), and see you again.


dennetmint

Former citizen journalism coordinator for The Rapidian. Bicycle commuter, experimental cook, aspiring athlete, wannabe programmer, infrequent pianist, language lover, tupperware fanatic and tea junkie. A proud Midtownie but a West Coast girl at heart.

Reports on: Tech, Midtown neighborhood, anything that catches my fancy, &c.

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Comments

and that's an understatement.  Denise, writing for The Rapidian has been challenging and fun for me, and I don't think I would have grown so much as a reporter if it weren't for your feedback and encouragement, sometimes at 2 am, sometimes late at night on a weekday.  There will be people in GR waiting for you when you visit!

m'dear, it was always such a pleasure to see that you cared that much; it was all the fuel I needed for the late nights. :)

Thanks Denise - you'll be greatly missed. We were lucky to have you. Don't forget the little people when you become the big people.

I'm 5'3, or 'petite,' as my clothes like to tell me. I doubt I'll ever be a big person. QED. :P

We'll miss you and all the great ideas you've brought to our community. Thanks for working with my students over the years! Come visit our Drupal group when you are in town. --Dan

we still have a december drupal meet-up to present at. the history/etymology of tech naming conventions, yes?

Thanks for a great two and a half years. Our community and even we mainstream media types are the better for it. Looking forward to the headlines about your next venture.

Fish in a school?

ANYWAY, you always step in as that ray of sunshine and the only person whom, when I felt like I had fallen flat on my face, I believed if you thought otherwise.

Denise,

thank you for all you've done! Not only were you my first "editor" you were, and remain a great friend. The work that you've done at The Rapidian has helped me find the work that I want to do. Best of luck in your future ventures and I'm sure we'll run into eachother.

'nuff said.

Denise,

We didn't spend a lot of time together, but I'm grateful for my interactions with you. Your passion for your work was contagious, and compliments from you were taken in the highest regard. Thank-you for being a reminder of just how amazing community journalism can be. Good luck with everything!!

Everything you said about me is exactly what I think of you! If I'm feeling down, I know where to find your Catalyst Radio interview. :)