IMG’s third market recognized Grand Rapids's struggle with its narrative. With a reputation as an insular place, the region lacked awareness about how attractive the region could be to new residents and businesses. Even with MLive headquartered there, the local news outlet was in the early stages of what would be a rapid decline. Economic development groups, community foundations, and major business owners recognized a dire need and helped IMG launch Rapid Growth in May 2006. Initially led by well-respected newspaper reporter Andy Guy and a remarkable local photographer, Brian Kelly, the newsroom developed into a tight team of around five regular journalists. With so many more neighborhoods needing news coverage than just the downtown and brewery district in Grand Rapids, the publication bloomed. Voices of Youth, Urban Innovation Exchange, and recently a design series are examples of strong series coming out of the hard work being done in the community.
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