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New features on The Rapidian

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Welcome to the newest version of the Rapidian!

Both longtime and new readers alike are bound to notice some big changes to The Rapidian after today’s relaunch. Over the past several weeks Ron Woldyk (three cheers for Ron!), our long-suffering web developer has been implementing several significant changes that we believe will improve the The Rapidian user experience significantly. 

Let's get right into it:

New front page

This is the big one. We have completely revamped the front page to accommodate more community-authored content. The new layout allows us to highlight up to four featured articles in each of the main four content areas (news, local life, opinion, and nonprofit neighbors). Hopefully this change will help one get a more complete sense of what is being reported on at The Rapidian right from the front page.

Track the heat

Wondering which Rapidian stories are getting the most traction? Articles that have recieved the most comments and votes within the past seven days will appear on the new front page. You can also click the section headings to see which articles on the site have the most comments and votes overall.

New regular content

The Rapidian is committed to providing special content on a weekly basis. Up till now, it has mostly been in the form of staff editorials and story maps. These will remain, but we are giving regular content its own special section and adding some exciting new regulars, including:

  • In Season - Melissa Harrington, director of Fulton Street Farmers Market, will be posting updates about what is expected to arrive at the market that week. This regular update is largely representative of what you will find at farmers markets all across West Michigan.
  • Catalyst Radio - For over five years, Linda Gellasch has hosted weekly episodes of Catalyst Radio, a special radio program featuring media analysis, interviews with the local nonprofits, and a community calendar on 88.1FM WYCE. Recently, Rapidian staffer Denise Cheng joined Linda to explore the behind-the-scenes of Rapidian reporting as well as grassroots and nonprofit efforts around the community. You can catch the program at noon every Friday on WYCE and then posted here on The Rapidian shortly after. Check out Linda's editorial about Catalyst Radio from earlier this week.
  • Glance at the Past - Award-winning local historian Diana Barrett writes and hosts Glance at the Past, a local history radio project presented by Grand Rapids Historical Commission and the Grand Rapids Community Media Center. It provides a brief look at the Grand Rapids of yesteryear. And hey: You can podcast it!
  • Word On The Street – Readers of the Rapidian are certainly no strangers to Jenn Schaub’s Word On The Street. Schaub has been so consistent with her weekly previews of upcoming art and music events that we  decided to give WOTS its own place on the Rapidian. Many of Schaub’s events exist somewhat in the margins of our city’s nightlife and would likely otherwise remain unpublicized. 

You can read all of the regular content, past and present, by clicking here.

A better Story Bank

About a month ago, we previewed one of the most exciting new features of the Rapidian, a real live story bank. The story bank is simply a database for posting and reviewing story pitches on the Rapidian. Gone are the days of having to email Rapidian staff or commenting on the awkward story pitch pages to add your story idea to the site. Now, you can simply pitch a story through a form. Readers can also read current story pitches, comment on them, and rate them up to express their interest in seeing a particular pitch covered by a citizen reporter. You can also review past pitches and see what stories have come out of them.

Reporters, if you want to create content for the Rapidian but are not sure where to start, look here first to get an idea of what people are interested in reading about. Like the events calendar, anyone who is registered on the site can add a story pitch. You can easily add your pitch by clicking on the pitch link in the user toolbar to the top righthand corner.

The Rapidian is still in BETA mode, which means that the whole site remains a work in progress. We encourage as much feed back as possible, so if you notice something that is a little off or if you have any questions, please let us know by filling out the feedback survey, emailing us or leaving a comment on this post. 

The Rapidian is a community-driven site. Help us make it a better experience for you.

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.

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.