About The Rapidian

The Rapidian is a hyperlocal citizen journalism platform, powered by the people of Grand Rapids. Basically, that means all of our news is written by our community and about our community, and is also funded by our community. Built on the idea that information is the building block of engagement, The Rapidian exists to foster civic investment: we're building community engagement through media.

 

What is Citizen Journalism?

Although outlets for the public to create community media, from public access television to community radio, date back to the 1970s, citizen journalism is a term that came out of the mid-2000s to describe everyday people creating worthwhile, community-relevant media shared online.

The earliest and most recognized form were blogs. Soon after, YouTube came on the scene followed by Twitter and many other social media applications that revolutionized how we get our news.

The Rapidian comes out of the citizen journalism movement. Instead of bloggers, Tweeters and other media makers producing in relative isolation, The Rapidian is an intentional network of citizen journalists who have Grand Rapids in common. By distributing on TheRapidian.org, Rapidians come across louder and clearer about who we are and what matters to us.

 

How We Work

How do you like expressing yourself? Video? Audio? Writing? Take your pick. Everyone is welcome to use their own tools.  We have a hub location at the CMC Education Annex (1110 Wealthy Street SE).

To become a user on The Rapidian website, which gives you access to posting comments, calendar events and storybank pitches for our reporters, register as a user here.

To start your journey as a citizen reporter, those with a user account can request to become a reporter here. You'll be matched with an editorial mentor, who will walk you through everything from coming up with story ideas to publishing on our site. 

As a hyperlocal news source, we cover the community of Grand Rapids, Michigan. This includes the following cities and townships on the map: Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Kentwood, Wyoming, Grandville, Walker, Comstock Park, Plainfield Township, Grand Rapids Township, Ada and Cascade.

All news stories from local citizens are published, as long as they meet just two requirements: they must cover news or people within the coverage area, and they must follow journalism standards and ethics. Your mentor can assist you with both of these requirements, or you can contact our staff at info@therapidian.org. We pride ourselves in being an open and welcoming hyperlocal platform where all voices can be heard, and look forward to having your stories be shared on our pages.

 

History

The Rapidian launched on Sept. 15, 2009 and is a department of the Grand Rapids Community Media Center with funding and support from the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Slemons Foundation and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Long before its online appearance, the CMC consulted with multiple partners in our community to create an online platform that would forward our mission: to build community engagement through media. Our community continues to be an important part of how The Rapidian grows and expands. Since its launch in 2009, we've seen phenomenal growth in readership and engagement, and look forward to continued community-lead growth as we celebrate our five year anniversary in the fall of 2014.