The Rapidian

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.

Screening and discussion planned to "Stop hate. Together."

Submitted 11/22

On December 7th, local groups and residents are coming together to view and discuss the documentary "Not In Our Town."

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The Rapidian adds photo of the day archive and expands media map

Submitted 11/09

From the Staff: A quick round of up some of things we've been working on since The Rapidian was relaunched in mid-September

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See you again

Submitted 10/25

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.

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Looking back: capturing the art and kitsch of fall

Submitted 10/20

We look back on our Picturesque theme this fall - "Art or Kitsch?" - and look for inspiration for our next Picturesque gallery-none if which would be possible without our sponsor, ColorInc ProLab.

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Beyond the poll: join the "shop local" conversation

Submitted 10/11

Go beyond this week's poll and join in conversation about what shopping local really means to you.

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Why we do what we do: categorization on The Rapidian

Submitted 10/06

A little bit about the hows and whys of The Rapidian’s revised system of categorizing content,

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ArtPrize A-B-C, Easy as 1-2-3

Submitted 09/20

Love it or hate it or just not sure about it, ArtPrize is here. Take the most of the opportunity and talk about art, talk to artists, talk with each other: The Rapidian provides the platform.

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Welcoming new partnerships on The Rapidian's second birthday

Submitted 09/12

As the Rapidian turns two, we welcome the business community, unveil new features and invite reader support to help sustain the momentum.

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Hunger Aware

Submitted 09/04

Becoming aware of the hunger and food security issues in Grand Rapids, and learning what it's like for the 55,803 Kent County residents who need food stamps to feed their families.

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Beat Reporting comes to The Rapidian

Submitted 08/31

Learn what beat reporting is all about, get involved with the Food Culture Beat Reporters, start your own beat based on your interests and passions!

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Your input really matters!

Submitted 08/18

We need YOU to take a Rapidian audience survey.

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Where do you live?

Submitted 08/09

The Rapidian wants to know: how do you define your geographies? EJSF7QUMMMY2

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Anonymity in media - the conversation continues

Submitted 08/03

I really believe that informed citizens promote healthy democracy. But needlessly anonymous publishing can have the opposite affect; stifling conversation, fostering suspicion and turning people away.

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Why it matters: The power of words and the importance of our stories

Submitted 07/14

We all have stories to tell and information to share: telling our stories well is as important as the information we have to share within them.

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Rodrick Dantzler—Processing what happened as a community

Submitted 07/08

But what tonight will prove, as we gather in small circles, is that we're social creatures who sometimes can't make sense of things, can't see the bigger picture until we do it together.

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New feature: neighborhood drill down!

Submitted 06/30

A brief overview of one of The Rapidian's newest features: NEIGHBORHOODS. Rapidan reporters, help us tag your ariticle archive with neighborhood level data!

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Communication as Infrustructure

Submitted 06/23

A new white paper provides community information strategies for nurturing civic engagement.

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Virginia is for lovers, tire swings are for dreamers, reporting is for the curious

Submitted 06/14

You ask whatever comes to mind, you observe how people express themselves through word choice, inflection, movement, color... Everything becomes language.

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The Rapidian now accepting intern applicants

Submitted 06/08

The Rapidian is now ready to take on interns, with several kinds of opportunities available for college credit or resume and portfolio building.

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Where do you want to put the social in social media?

Submitted 06/01

As we plan our first ever Rapidian Picnic Social, Friday June 10 at Noon, we can't help but wonder where we should picnic next. Help us by suggesting where we should go next!

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Spreading the News

Submitted 05/24

Along with community reporters, the Rapidian counts on community to distribute community news and information.

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[MAP] Picturesquing about town

Submitted 05/18

I've mapped most of the Picturesque contributions below, and many are clustered enough to make an afternoon of it. Imagine: a picnic lunch, a photo expedition, a lovely stroll mapped out by your Pictu

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The full story: Writing about our community includes more than cultural events

Submitted 05/09

The Rapidian's editor talks about the importance of "hard news" reporting: governement, infrastructure, commerce, and education are an important part of our story.

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Picturesque: In plain sight

Submitted 05/02

The dabs of violet were hardly noticeable. Who else today had spotted this shy cluster huddled by a tree? And then I had to wonder: What do we Grand Rapidians notice that we think others miss?

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Entrepreneurs are Rapidians, too.

Submitted 04/27

The Rapidian is preparing to welcome local business participation through specialized underwriting, funded reporting and local marketplace section.

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Rethinking how we describe news categories

Submitted 04/20

The Rapidian is chock full of arts and entertainment content. Is it fluff or does it signal a new way of thinking about news, community and dialogue?

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Building our skills and building community: public hours get special

Submitted 04/12

The Rapidian's "Public Hours" are being revamped: bi-weekly themes around photo essays, cloud computing, creative commons and strong interview skills are planned for upcoming months.

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Share the credit: Collaborators and Translators get some Rapidian love too

Submitted 04/06

A quick update on some new technical changes here on The Rapidian, notably the ability to credit article collaborators and translators.

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Has the divide gone mobile?

Submitted 03/29

The digital divide discussion may be changing from "whether" folks have access, to "how" they have access. What does this mean for the nonprofit services sector?

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Where should The Rapidian see and be seen this summer?

Submitted 03/22

When the weather's warm, we also like to stretch our limbs and get out to chat up new readers and contributors. Recommendations, please: What are your top picks for summer events and festivals?

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Sum It Up: The Meaning of Things

Submitted 03/15

The Rapidian's new summary field helps both readers and reporters alike get to the heart of an article.

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Introducing essays to The Rapidian content

Submitted 03/01

Since starting at The Rapidian in January, I’ve been doing a lot of listening, observing and analyzing. I’ve been looking for what’s missing: what content our readers and reporters are wanting but not getting. The two things I’ve noticed trending is...

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Rapidian socials: In a boat, with a goat? In the rain, on a train?

Submitted 02/22

Perhaps you remember them: ice cream socials, Rapidian reporter gatherings, happy hours... we took a break from monthly socials during the holiday season, and now that we've been gifted with a full staff, let's rock and roll! All you creative...

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Becoming a Rapidian Reporter

Submitted 02/15

In light of the first Rapidian Reporter Orientation of the year, to be held this Thursday at 5:30pm right here at The Rapidian office (1110 Wealthy St SE), I thought it might be wise to give a quick reminder about how one actually becomes a...

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New Reporters: What have we gotten ourselves into?

Submitted 02/07

"What have I gotten myself into?" How many times have you said that to yourself after making a leap that you thought was a good idea? I know I sometimes jump in, feet first and thrilled as can be, only to realize later that I didn't really know all...

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The end of Picturesque doesn't mean the end of winter fun!

Submitted 02/01

That was a hard title to type, especially in light of a blizzard on the horizon, descending upon us at dusk today. "Snowpocalypse" and "snowmageddon" have been bandied around, so this reminder of what we love about West Michigan winters couldn't be...

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Let me introduce myself: Holly Bechiri joins The Rapidian team

Submitted 01/25

This week in 1984, Apple Computers Inc unveiled its first MacIntosh personal computer. And, as I remember, immediately started pouring those Mac PCs into schools for free (smart company, that Apple).  In fact, I remember using those PCs to...

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Looking Ahead: Rapidian staff discuss priorities for 2011

Submitted 01/20

On New Year’s eve Roberta King, superstar citizen journalist and our champion at the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, published an inspirational call to action encouraging us all to "be The Rapidian” in 2011. As part of the team that puts The...

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Being The Rapidian in 2011

Submitted 12/31

There is something about the end of a year and the start of a new one that energizes me. I don't make resolutions; but write goals for things I want to accomplish. I also find the end of the year a time where I reflect (usually fondly) on what I've...

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Winter photos: Someone must know which street this is

Submitted 12/30

A couple of weeks ago, The Rapidian and The Grand Rapids Press launched their respective winter photo projects. On our part, we asked Rapidians to share what there is to love about West Michigan winters. The Press opted for a caption...

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Season's greetings and what Picturesque shows us about Rapidians so far

Submitted 12/21

What Picturesque reveals about this project and its participants

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A picturesque show-and-tell: What do you like about West Michigan winters?

Submitted 12/14

From The Rapidian staff: Snow banks. Rust. Black ice and endless gray. The grumbling has commenced, so let's mix it up. Fellow Rapidians, what do you love about West Michigan winters? This Thursday, Dec. 16, is the start of The Rapidian's first...

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Got a question for Mayor Heartwell? City Connection to stream live on The Rapidian

Submitted 12/06

*** UPDATE *** The above video is a recording of tonight's City Connection.  From The Rapidian Staff: Ever wonder how cities prioritize street construction after the winter? Or about the city’s commitment to sustainable practices? What’s...

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Apparently, Rapidians are Sticky

Submitted 11/30

From The Rapidian staff: The Rapidian is an open platform where the community self-selects the news and information to be shared and reported. The original intent was to increase community engagement and encourage connections in the community. The...

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New Feature Tuesday: Suggestions Slider

Submitted 11/23

From The Rapidian staff: A new feature announcement on a Tuesday can really only mean one thing. That’s right, it’s New Feature Tuesday! 
This time we only have one new feature that we are ready to talk about, the suggestions slider, and actually...

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A DIY prototype kit for Rapidian reporters - Crafters wanted!

Submitted 11/16

From The Rapidian staff: Last week, we were invited to set up shop at AimWest's social media confabulation, an annual conference in its second iteration that's spilling out of the gills with GR's social media savviest (read: marketers)....

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Just the facts: clarifying our content

Submitted 11/03

It’s the aim of The Rapidian, as seen in the Statement of Values, to encourage and stand by ethical reporting. Reporters are charged with seeking truth, being honest and fair, minimizing harm, avoiding misrepresentation, seeking alternate sources...

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Here's some food for thought, Grand Rapids

Submitted 11/02

No matter where you're from, food is a popular topic. Whether it's finding the best po-boy sandwich in New Orleans, picking out the largest lobster at a shore diner in Maine, finding out what you can (although maybe you shouldn't) fry at a state...

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Bylines, RSS feeds, mapping and Facebook stuff: The Rapidian has some new features!

Submitted 10/26

Now that the craziness of ArtPrize is behind us, we can breathe and finally tell you about the new features we have quietly launched on (and off) the site over the last couple of weeks. That's right, people, it's "New Feature Tuesday" again! ...

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First content facilitator's contribution at the heart of The Rapidian

Submitted 10/19

From The Rapidian staff: One year ago yesterday, we got the news that Drew Storey had unexpectedly passed away. It was instant - an undiagnosed heart condition - no pain. Drew Storey was The Rapidian's first content facilitator and, before that,...

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What #ArtPrize2010 has taught us

Submitted 10/12

It's been a busy few weeks for Grand Rapids and that means it's been busy at The Rapidian, too. ArtPrize season brought us a lot of content from both new and existing reporters, a multitude of arts-en

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Funding hyperlocal news - your input invited

Submitted 10/04

There is no question that things are really hopping at the Rapidian. Monthly visitor numbers are up a whopping 78% compared to 3 months ago. Now nearly 15,000 visits are being made each month to check out what's happening. Hundreds are signed...

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Observations from Block by Block, a community news summit

Submitted 09/28

From Rapidian staff: Last Thursday, I pinwheeled through the freeways separating our city from that tall bold slugger known as Chicago. It was the first Block by Block summit (BxB), a conference organized by Michele McClellan of the Reynolds...

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ArtPrize 2010: Essays and Critique

Submitted 09/21

From The Rapidian staff: Yesterday afternoon, The Rapidian soft-launched our ArtPrize 2010 page. Here, you will be able to find all of The Rapidian coverage that relates to this year's ArtPrize competition. While regular readers of The Rapidian...

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The Rapidian turns ONE and is still growing

Submitted 09/15

Has it been a year already? The Rapidian’s one-year birthday is today, Sept. 15. Looking back on these past 12 months, we’ve all learned a lot from the community, our contributors, our partners and our readers. Today, The Rapidian officially ends...

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Creative Commons and The Rapidian: Choose Your Own Adventure

Submitted 08/31

From The Rapidian Staff: One of the core foundational values of The Rapidian is cooperative distribution. We launched this project not with the intention of replacing or competing with existing local news outlets but to augment the overall...

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Invisibility cloak donned: What would you want to observe?

Submitted 08/24

From The Rapidian staff: Say you're a fly on the wall. Or, no—let's do this up Harry Potter-style—say you have an invisibility cloak. You can go anywhere you want, hear anything you want, completely unnoticed. What's your first pick? ...

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Interaction with The Rapidian helps generate coverage ideas

Submitted 08/18

From The Rapidian staff*: A major element of The Rapidian, if not the most important, is community involvement. Without interaction between readers and reporters, the Rapidian wouldn't be able to offer much, which is why we try to encourage...

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Four or five new features we may just develop next

Submitted 08/10

Features, features, features. It’s nearly all we can think about in The Rapidian’s IT HQ. While we may have unveiled our newest, most solid suite of updates a mere two weeks ago, we are quick to look at what’s coming next. After some deep...

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Media literacy: Distinguishing political coverage

Submitted 08/03

From The Rapidian staff: Right around fall time every year, the city is caught in a maelstrom of election coverage. There is so much news coverage pouring out of papers, screens and in 1s and 0s that it can be difficult to wade through the type...

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The Rapidian celebrates volunteers with SUPER-latives!

Submitted 08/02

From The Rapidian staff: On July 22, we threw our first volunteer bash. Named SUPER-latives!, we wanted to celebrate everyone who had contributed to The Rapidian, from readers to Flickr groupies to contributors to staff. The event took...

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NEW FEATURE TUESDAY – New article pages: Better images, sharing, sidebars and author information

Submitted 07/27

From The Rapidian Staff: Bake a cupcake and light a candle, because it’s New Feature Tuesday here at The Rapidian. NFT is a semi-regular holiday I have just made up to mark the release of new features that make The Rapidian look and work better...

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Communicating with police to get the details

Submitted 07/20

From The Rapidian staff: You probably wouldn’t imagine being a contributor to the Rapidian would put you on the police department’s radar but sometimes that’s exactly where you want to be. Reporters often find situations where the information...

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Rapidian seeking NPO partners for news bureaus

Submitted 07/13

As the Rapidian nears its first birthday, we are looking to extend the Rapidian to new audiences and engage new voices.

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Online tools: Resources to create cool multimedia for The Rapidian

Submitted 07/06

From The Rapidian staff: It's astonishing how easy it is to create interactive media with free tools right at your fingertips (literally)—that is, if you know where to look. We covered a couple tools in a previous editorial, but here are a few more...

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Using neighborhood news bureaus to strengthen links

Submitted 06/29

From The Rapidian staff*: Currently, The Rapidian is primarily an online news platform, facilitating and distributing text, video and audio reports generated by people in our community. But as designed, it is also intended to have a real,...

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Making the most of weekly story pitches

Submitted 06/22

From The Rapidian staff*: One of the ways we at The Rapidian try to help our citizen reporters is by providing them with story ideas. The storybank is a great resource for those searching for something to write about, but there is also a...

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Location, Location, Location: Why We Map Stories

Submitted 06/18

From The Rapidian staff*: From the beginning, story mapping has been a key component of The Rapidian. With that in mind we built the site so that it would be easy for reporters to enter geographical information into their stories and events...

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Holding down the fort while Rapidian staffer recovers

Submitted 06/07

From The Rapidian staff: I visited Matt Russell at the hospital this morning. You may have already heard about his moped accident because even though The Rapidian's content facilitator is confined to a hospital bed, he's been tweeting...

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GRTV offers live stream of Festival of the Arts

Submitted 06/03

From The Rapidian staff*: Grand Rapids' 41st Festival of the Arts will be streamed live from Calder Plaza by GRTV this weekend. If you can't make it downtown for the arts, activities, food, music and more, just open this link or click the Festival...

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What to look out for before publishing

Submitted 05/25

From The Rapidian staff*: You've done your research, meticulously assembled your words, edited and redited, and are finally ready to hit the publish button. But wait! Are you sure your piece is ready to go live? Before presenting your work...

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Find story ideas by getting involved

Submitted 05/18

From The Rapidian staff*: Of the reasons we often get at The Rapidian for contributors experiencing writer's block, a common one is difficulty finding story leads. Luckily, this problem can be tackled not only with resources found on therapidian....

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New features on The Rapidian

Submitted 05/07

Welcome to the newest version of the Rapidian! Both longtime and new readers alike are bound to notice some big changes to The Rapidian after today’s relaunch. Over the past several weeks Ron Woldyk (three cheers for Ron!), our long-suffering web...

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Catalyst Radio and The Rapidian partner for on-air media analysis and local happenings

Submitted 05/04

From The Rapidian staff: Two programs of Community Media Center—Catalyst Radio and The Rapidian—have joined forces in bringing media, media news, and highlights on local nonprofits to the Grand Rapids community. Some of you may have noticed...

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You, with your ear to the ground!

Submitted 04/27

From The Rapidian staff: During our press pit last week about breaking news, Grand Rapids Press' Web Producer Kate Nagengast made some very good points. It was the day after a cancelled Grand Rapids Public Schools board meeting. Emotions were...

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Keeping The Rapidian Flickr pool effective

Submitted 04/21

From Rapidian staff*: As you’ve no doubt noticed while perusing, our front page features a photo of the day. This feature is pulled from The Rapidian Flickr pool, We also take photos...

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Citizen reporting: Many voices/many styles

Submitted 04/13

From Rapidian staff:* When The Rapidian was designed (with a good dose of community volunteer input), it was recognized from the start that while we could build it, it would only survive and thrive if residents stepped up to provide the content. We...

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New Feature: Story Bank - Help Us Out!

Submitted 04/08

From Rapidian staff*: After more than a year of solid development, Ron – our main developer – is off on a much-need vacation with his family. That leaves the rest of us Rapidian staffers with a tiny bit of downtime to do some of the planning...

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TMI: Leave it on the cutting room floor

Submitted 03/30

From Rapidian staff: When presenting information to your audience, don't pile it up. Deconstruct it. It happens all the time in classes, at conferences, at public events. With so many questions fizzing from the audience, participants feel...

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Localizing a larger story for The Rapidian audience

Submitted 03/24

From Rapidian staff*: As a hyperlocal news source, a main thrust behind The Rapidian is to cover the news and events that affect lives within the City of Grand Rapids, but there’s no denying that news happens outside these boundaries. Health care...

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@verylocal: Another way of connecting with Rapidian content

Submitted 03/15

From Rapidian staff*: Many of you responded to the recent Rapidian poll, “How do you primarily get your Rapidian Updates?” I would be lying were I to suggest that this question was posed without somewhat of an ulterior motive. We have been...

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Multimedia production: Freeware, royalty-free and Creative Commons media tools

Submitted 03/09

From Rapidian staff: You've just written a story about some virus originating from Grand Rapids affecting giraffes in Africa. You need a picture to go with your piece but don't exactly have an image of a giraffe on hand. A quick search on Google...

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Keep your headlines concise, avoid funny business

Submitted 03/04

From Rapidian staff*: The headline of your story is the first thing readers see on The Rapidian, Facebook, Twitter and many other places online. It’s a marquis sign, aimed at attracting the eye and piquing interest in the story it adorns. Some...

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New Feature: Better User Bar!

Submitted 02/22

From Rapidian staff*: If you are a logged-in user of The Rapidian, you may have noticed the slightly retooled user bar in the top right-hand corner of the site. This little bar should help address some of The Rapidian's biggest usability problems—...

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Show, don't tell

Submitted 02/09

From Rapidian staff*: "Show don't tell" plays like a broken record for every creative writer.  Says Wikipedia, "Show, don't tell is an admonition to fiction writers to write in a manner that allows the reader to experience the story through a...

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Defining your article by newsworthiness and content

Submitted 02/02

From Rapidian staff*: When submitting stories for the Rapidian, they must be categorized into one of three groups--News, Local Life and Opinion. The differences between these three groups may seem minimal but there are actually defining traits to...

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FTC regulations mirror The Rapidian's emphasis on disclosure

Submitted 01/19

From Rapidian staff: In a blog entry by Whitney Hoffman, she frames blogging in a media-saturated world as a Mom & Pop operation. In October 2009, the Federal Trade Commission put a law in place that just went into effect last month: Full...

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Welcome to BETA II

Submitted 12/15

Since the launch of The Rapidian, exactly three months ago to the day, The Rapidian has been operating in what we’ve been calling “Beta I.” It has been a time to throw everything out there and see what works and what doesn’t. Things, for the most...

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