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Citizen reporting: Many voices/many styles

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Anyone can step up and provide engaging stories from our community by becoming a citizen journalist.

Anyone can step up and provide engaging stories from our community by becoming a citizen journalist. /poortvld

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 are delighted that almost daily, there are new community-generated stories on the site. From the multipart series on the Heartside neighborhood (Nick Manes and Michael Tuffelmire), to a video tour of the old public museum (Gretchen Vinnedge), our friends, neighbors and co-workers are really stepping up to provide engaging stories from our community. Unfortunately, all of this great content could have the unintended effect of intimidating the future, yet-to-be-published, citizen reporter.

I am here to try and minimize doubts and reassure you that being a valuable contributor to The Rapidian does not require that you create a journalistic masterpiece. We certainly need and appreciate the volunteer Rapidian reporters who pound the pavement for the in-depth story, and those who labor over a carefully crafted, 700-word event review. But we also enjoy and benefit from smaller contributions, and different styles of “reporting”. In fact, the site was designed to feature a wide variety of content from a diverse pool of voices. I encourage you to find the style that feels right for you.

In the spirit of demonstrating various options, here’s my use of “the list” to share some ideas to inspire you to be a Rapidian reporter.

Five Ways You Can Begin Contributing to the Rapidian  

  1. Take snapshots around town and upload them to the Rapidian Flickr group. These photos are used by Rapidian reporters to illustrate their news stories.
  2. Do a short, weekly update on summer construction affecting your daily commute. Where are the delays? What’s the progress? Most effective detour routes?
  3. Make a comment on a Rapidian story, add your perspective and start a conversation.
  4. What do others think about healthcare, or education, or eating organic? Pick a topic and pose a related question to a dozen people, and share the results.
  5. Create a “list” like this one, on any topic you like. Chances are if you find it interesting, others will too. Best yard sale neighborhoods. Top parks for kite flying. Six reasons to fill out your census form.

“Top ten…” or “5 ideas…” stories are just one example of an easy, fun, and engaging way to try your hand at citizen reporting. And as always, Rapidian editorial mentors will be happy to help you find your voice. I hope you’ll join the conversation.

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.

Disclosure: Laurie is the Publisher of The Rapidian and Executive Director of the Community Media Center (parent organization of The Rapidian).

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.

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Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.