Thursday, December 01, 2011

Jobs and New Media Good News for West Michigan

I received an email yesterday from Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor for Rapid Growth Media, that lifted my spirits. The blast email was to announce expanded job news coverage in the online publication. The expansion launched today in the Innovation and Job News section.


"Our philosophy is this: there may not be many big companies hiring 100 employees, but there might be 100 small businesses creating one job each," Wood explained in the email. "Those businesses are often overlooked as news stories, or the owners are so busy doing the day-to-day they don't think to let us know about their growth."

More than a publication, Rapid Growth has been a cheerleader for the region since its inception. It's not just seeing the positive job news in this economy, and the articles about smaller businesses, that is so uplifting. It's the fact  that a local news outlet is dedicated to constructive coverage. 

A complaint about the mainstream media  has long been the dwelling on scandal and negativity, the "if it bleeds it leads" mentality. Sure, citizens need to be informed  of crime and less  than uplifting news. But the constant barrage of aggregated unemployment numbers don't tell the full story. People need and want to hear about the small scale turnarounds and successes, the entrepreneurs as well as the monoliths. 

That may be partly why Rapid Growth has grown to 30,000 unique visitors  per month, and an email distribution of 15,000, according to publisher Jeff Hill. I would expect that to be a growth story of its own in the months ahead with its good news and the opportunity to peruse 98 jobs available at the moment I write this. It's also encouraging to read about jobs landed--especially when they feature a former student of mine:-)

I realize that the mainstream media has been working to make their coverage  more positive and local as well. But it seems that new media like Rapid Growth, citizen journalism project The Rapidian, and an impressive e-zine from local social media maven StellaFly are leading the way into online, hyper-local, smaller focus, positive news. In a bit of irony, StellaFly recently posted a long feature of Mike Lloyd, the formerly ink-stained and curmudgeonly Grand Rapids Press editor now doing PR for Broadway Grand Rapids.

All of this is good for the news consumers of West Michigan. It's also good in terms of the added outlets for the public relations professionals with small but good stories to share.


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