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The Rapidian adds Advisory Council to support local writers

As we continue to grow and support local voices, it's important that we make sure that we're providing our community reporters with everything they need to share their news and stories well. Our Advisory Council is an important piece in taking good care of our reporters.

/Holly Bechiri

Underwriting support from:

It's been quite a year at The Rapidian. We've had stories about Title IX proceedings at GVSU in a rape case, hosted conversations about how we can better support local food and the role the Downtown Market plays in it, talked about gentrification and public transportation and economic disparities for our black neighbors. We've done all this on a platform designed to support local citizens' voices within the boundaries of journalism ethics.

That last part, "within the boundaries of journalism ethics," is an important one, not only to make sure our citizen journalism platform maintains its own ethics standards, but also because local citizens are putting themselves on the line when they bring up contentious issues within our community. It's our job here at The Rapidian to make sure they are well supported- and part of that is making sure we have a wealth of understanding of how our local citizens can tell their stories well.

This is why, in recent months, we've been gathering a team of experts to form an Advisory Council. Journalism and law professionals have joined together to ensure that when those contentious conversations come up, we are presenting our stories in ways that are legal and professional within the journalism setting. It's an important key in supporting local voices- and we are very grateful for each of the members of our Advisory Council for dedicating their time and expertise in this way. 

Our new Advisory Council includes experts in law- Joe Voss and Devin Schindler- and experts in journalism- Nancy Crawley and Patrick Revere. 

“Citizen journalism is a critical element to a healthy civic environment, and The Rapidian has established itself as an essential component of the public discourse in West Michigan," says Joe Voss, Senior Counsel in Clark Hill’s Grand Rapids office. "It’s exciting to be a part of a team that empowers people in Grand Rapids to actively participate in the public conversation.”

As practice leader for the firm’s Entertainment Industry Team, Voss represents financing and producing parties for film, television and on-line media productions. He provides legal services to independent producers, as well representation to producers and creators working in the film, television, digital media, publishing and music industries. Voss served as chair of the Arts, Communications, Entertainment and Sports Section of the State Bar of Michigan from 2014 to 2015, is a member of the Michigan Film and Digital Media Office Advisory Council, and a member of the board of directors of Creative Many Michigan.

Nancy Crawley has been a journalist for 40 years.

"A strong community needs to encourage many voices and points of view as it decides how to grow and change," says Crawley. "The Rapidian plays a key role in getting residents involved in that important exchange of ideas and opinions. I welcome the opportunity to support this outlet for citizen journalism."

Crawley was business editor, business columnist and a local news editor for The Grand Rapids Press, retiring in 2011. Previously, she was assistant professor at Ferris State University where she was faculty adviser to the student newspaper, The Torch, and taught composition and journalism.  Earlier she was business editor at The Lansing State Journal.  She holds a masters degree in journalism, with emphasis on financial journalism. 

Patrick Revere, serves as President of the Board of Directors for Grand Rapids Community Media Center along with his new appointment to the Advisory Council. 

"Community crops up as necessity, but also needs to be recognized and cultivated," says Revere. "The Rapidian offers an open, honest platform for expression and dialogue that few if any other organizations have been able to realize."

Revere operates RevereWriter, LLC, and has served as a central organizer for Waterfront Film Festival. He has edited, authored or served as ghostwriter on eight books, completed a screenplay and has contributed to numerous campaigns and corporate projects in Michigan.

Revere got his writing career started as a journalist. At age 16 he worked for the Tucson Citizen, a Gannett-owned daily, and spent time in more than a dozen newsrooms in Arizona, California and Michigan. Revere uses his ink-stained upbringing- the son of a book shop owner and little brother of a daily print news writer- to frame and refine not only his attention to language but his understanding of societal, cultural and community ebbs and flows.

Professor Devin Schindler of Western Michigan University-Cooley Law School teaches Constitutional and Health Care Law. He has written extensively on a variety of First Amendment issues and historically represented numerous broadcast and print media outlets. His most recent article, "This Medication May Kill You: Cognitive Overload and Forced Commercial Speech," which was co-authored with Tracey Brame, analyzed the constitutionality of laws that require advertisers to include disclaimers in their advertisements.

"I am honored to support any organization- regardless of its point of view- which contributes to the marketplace of ideas," says Schindler. "The key to maintaining a vital democracy lies in the free exchange of ideas."

So as part of our responsibility here at The Rapidian- to encourage and support that free exchange of ideas, which we do believe as Schindler does that this is a key to maintaining a vital democracy- continues to evolve and grow along with our readership and our reportership. It is our honor and pleasure to support our local voices, as they utilize our news source platform to tell the stories of their own community- our 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.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

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