The Rapidian exists to foster civic investment; we are building community through media. The area that we work in was a news desert. The Rapidian filled that void and continues to allow community members, non-profit organizations, and artists to share their passions with the world. It has built up both conversation and acceptance in West Michigan. We publish bilingual stories and positive content about communities that are often portrayed negatively on network television.
As the Community Media Center, we knew we could build an online platform for people to share their voices in a way that would fit well with our other programs at GRTV, 88.1 FM WYCE, and The Wealthy Theatre. This hub has evolved and grown with the needs of the community.
Our in-house team built a website and welcomed submissions in many forms, including video, audio, and writing. We began training the community in media literacy by sharing in-depth about community journalism, news, storytelling, and publishing on a website. We gave participants ideas about how to find and produce an ethical story.
Once a community member wants to become a user on The Rapidian website, they can go online and register. Then, they are able to post comments, see the calendar of events, and engage with the bank of story pitches.
When someone registers, they can request to become a reporter and start submitting their stories. We make sure to have staff available to assist anyone’s concerns. All news stories from local citizens are published, as long as they meet two requirements: they must cover local news or people, and they must follow journalism standards and ethics.
This platform allows people to show their pride in their community. It gives them a place where they can talk about the concerts they attended, and share their experiences of going to a ballet, play, or community event. Giving the community a platform to share the pride they feel about their life, their culture, and their home is what brings a diverse community together.