By Roberta F. King, Vice President PR & Marketing, Grand Rapids Community Foundation A year ago, The Rapidian was launched in Grand Rapids, Michigan with much fanfare. Seriously, we held a launch party with about 100 supporters and counted down the seconds until the site went live at 4 p.m. Sept. 15, 2009. The fanfare was only the beginning of what has been a successful venture in nonprofit citizen journalism and an amazing leadership opportunity for the Community Foundation. The success of year rests squarely on the shoulders of the Grand Rapids Community Media Center, which spearheaded site design and instituted the values of The Rapidian. The numbers show that The Rapidian is a solid source for hyperlocal news in Grand Rapids. The site has 206 reporters, 13 editorial mentors and 128 active nonprofit users with hundreds more registered users, several who comment often.
Tom Lindley Oklahoma Watch is a Knight Community Information Challenge winner that aims to bring attention and action on issues such as the incarceration of women through independent journalism in partnership with established news organizations around the state. It officially launches Jan. 30 but is already publishing via a new website and its partner publications. We checked in this week for a status report from editor Tom Lindley. Q. When did the site launch? A. While our official “Women in Prison” project launch date has been set for Jan. 30, we unofficially launched Oklahomawatch.org Dec. 2 to coincide with the publication of a three-part newspaper print/online series that was produced in conjunction with Oklahoma’s two major daily newspapers and distributed to the rest of the state’s newspapers. The series focused on the state’s prison overcrowding and budgetary crisis and was meant to give lawmakers something to think about as they neared the deadline for filing bills for the 2011 legislative session. We felt it was important to