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Looking ahead: beats on The Rapidian

Become informed and possibly involved with the beats coming to The Rapidian.
Underwriting support from:

Interested in being a beat reporter?

Become a food beat reporter: contact Samantha Dine.

Become a politics beat reporter: contact Nick Manes.

Lead or join our upcoming music beat and writers beat: contact Chelsea LaForge

Leaders of these beats can also apply for an internship for these positions.

Food trucks in Grand Rapids were a topic of conversation for both our food and politics beats.

Food trucks in Grand Rapids were a topic of conversation for both our food and politics beats. /Carol Lautenbach

We're always looking for creative ways to give our readers more information about the city of Grand Rapids. We are also know we have quite a lot of reporters that have strong, passionate interests in one specific topic. Some of us would be excited to write about one and only one topic week after week, month after month and have an obvious knowledge of that subject matter (or an interest in learning more). These reporters, we bet, would benefit from a community of like-minded folks.

To answer both of those needs, we're introducing our beats in 2012.

Food Beat

Samantha Dine, former intern at The Rapidian, started a food beat. Most notably, Dine took part in the Hunger Challenge and has been recruiting other passionate food writers to write with her. Anything from local markets or farms to new restaurants and stores in town, the food beat will be focused on all things food-related in Grand Rapids.

Politics Beat

Our most recent intern Nick Manes is spearheading our new politics beat. With 2012 being an election year, there will be a lot of politics talk going around and our politics beat reporters will be responsbile for providing that coverage for our readers. Sometimes, local politics can fly under the radar, but taking a look back at 2011 from a local politico's eyes sure makes us wonder what's in store for 2012 in local politics.

Music Beat

There's a somewhat undiscovered music community in Grand Rapids, and we intend to bring it to light. Being hyperlocal, we're interested in having a music beat to highlight big things that are happening locally in the music world. From local bands to album releases, we want to encourage our music beat reporters to discover, or rediscover, the talented music hub we have in Grand Rapids.

Writers Beat

Maybe we're a little partial to all things related to writing, but that's expected. We want this beat to educate our audience on a variety of things related to the writing world. Events like local authors' book signings, writers coming to Grand Rapids as speakers or presenters, or even a local undiscovered author-these are all important aspects of this beat. We have a feeling that any and all things relating to writers, writing, books, magazines, you get the idea... if it's about writing on a local level, it will be a great area to explore.

So how does a beat work?

Each beat will be a community within the broader Rapidian community. These beat communities will offer a specific, specialized perspective on local food, politics, music and writing. Not only will the beat reporters have a group of folks to collaborate with to make sure their own passions are covered well on The Rapidian, but they'll have a chance to get to know other folks passionate about the same things they are. Beat reporters meet in person on a somewhat regular basis, brainstorm and share ideas and events in their own private facebook groups. They're able to determine what they'd like to do as a group, and could even create group articles (can you imagine the food beat reporters arranging with the chef to visit a new restaurant to create a group review?) or do community service within their own passions (such as the politics beat helping citizens get registered to vote!). The sky is the limit-and it's up to the these beat reporters to determine what they want their own community to look like.

We'll provide a leader for each beat to help them keep organized and in touch, and we can't wait to see what kind of stories they bring to our Rapidian community!

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

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