Content Ninja's Weblog

An exploratory journey on the edge of newspaper evolution

Good fences make good neighbors March 13, 2008

As noted before, Gazette Communications is not the first to move into this experimental space. There are many amoeba in the primordial pool, so to speak. Three in particular are interesting to me in relation to social media and content. Here’s one of them.

The now defunct was billed as “Do-It-Yourself Local News” in a handful of East Coast communities. The Web-based business venture ( closed up shop last summer because it couldn’t make it as a business, but it was enjoying some success as an engaged online community of users/content generators.

“As a pioneer in the user-generated, hyperlocal field, Backfence hopefully will pave the way for many other efforts to create locally focused online communities,” blogged co-founder Mark Potts in July on the lessons learned in the experiment. Read the entire entry at

Mark has agreed to give me some of his time next week, and we’ll be talking by phone about the Backfence experiment and how it built its community. Watch this space for an update on the conversation.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you about two other experiments of note.