I had a great afternoon!  In these tough economic times, I was able to spend 2 hours talking about why I chose journalism as my career: informing a community, helping to right wrongs and protecting the First Amendment.   The only budget mention was how much we could SPEND!

Roberta King from the Grand Rapids Community Foundation and Laurie Cirivello from the Community Media Center brought about two dozen people together to talk about how to create 4 Neighborhood News Bureaus in Grand Rapids.

Ignore Mount Diet Mt. Dew!

Ignore Mount Diet Mt. Dew!

You had many key groups represented in the room: commercial TV and print media, college and university leadership, CMC participants and a lot of smart media-saavy people (lots of guys named Tim and Andy!)   More input will be sought from people across the city.

The goal of this meeting was to help Roberta and Laurie figure out the opportunities and challenges they will have in turning a grant proposal into reality.  While the details are still being worked out, let me share several themes that have me looking forward to the next meeting:

1.   If we do this right, everyone wins, from the people of the city to the media who are all trying to keep our coverage strong as resources dwindle.

Smart People On All Sides!

Smart People On All Sides!

2.  Imagine in 2011 when this is working throughout the city of Grand Rapids.  Wyoming, Kentwood, Rockford, Sparta… all these communities and more in Ottawa, Allegan may see this and want to do the same thing.

3.  All the commercial media already wants and solicits feedback and story ideas from our customers.  Most also ask then to shoot breaking news or weather video/photos.  This is the next logical step in the process.

I know we have some significant challenges to overcome.  But we all have that in our ‘regular’ jobs as well these days.  In both cases, I say bring it on!

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