Citizen journalism site to shut down
This story was sent to me by my old buddy Jack Kapica (subscribe) at the Globe and Mail. He's been following citizen journalism and wrote a great story about NowPublic (and wrote some great words about me in a column about the Mesh Conference).
At the conference I was not a total booster about the prospects for the future of news - citizen journalism notwithstanding. There are many hurdles ahead - and as this story shows, the road is littered with kill:
NEW YORK -- A news site that has allowed its users to write and submit their own articles is shutting down, citing unspecified "business issues."
Backfence Inc. had "hyperlocal" sites serving 13 communities in the Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Chicago areas. Residents were allowed to write on any topic, including event announcements and neighborhood traffic congestion, without the meddling of editors.
The idea was to get readers and viewers more involved in news production with the help of the Internet, camera phones and other technologies.
"We hope we have provided you with a valuable local forum," Backfence told its readers. "Unfortunately, business issues are forcing us to close our doors and shut down the site."
Backfence never drew much traffic. Its 13 operations collectively haven't received enough visitors in a month to reach the threshold needed for comScore Media Metrix to properly measure. Normally, comScore needs at least 50,000 to 100,000 visitors.