The local “citizen journalism” entity Backfence is closing the doors on its network of 13 sites, according to a post at PaidContent. Backfence CEO Mark Potts told PaidContent’s Rafat Ali in an e-mail that the investors are “continuing to talk to potential buyers or new investors, but have decided for business and operational reasons to shut down the sites rather than operate them without sufficient support.”
PaidContent also links to a long piece in the American Journalism Review about local online journalism and Backfence, which has a troubled history. I last wrote about it in this post entitled “Backfence around a ghost town.” Peter Krasilovsky at The Kelsey Group has some thoughts about the closure, and so does my pal Kent Newsome. And Ashkan at HipMojo wonders whether it wouldn’t be better if newspapers took a stab at some citizen journalism themselves — but admits that would be a difficult mix of cultures (and I would have a tendency to agree).
Pete Cashmore says Backfence marks the death of citizen journalism, but gets taken to task in the comments section of his post. And one of those commenters — a former employee at Backfence — puts forward an interesting idea: what if Craigslist.org started adding some aspects of “citizen journalism” to its local sites? A very interesting idea indeed. Any comment on that, Mr. Newmark? And Jeff Jarvis makes some good points in this post.
(from the Telegraph):
“Count Gottfried von Bismarck, who was found dead on Monday aged 44, was a louche German aristocrat with a multi-faceted history as a pleasure-seeking heroin addict, hell-raising alcoholic, flamboyant waster and a reckless and extravagant host of homosexual orgies.
The great-great-grandson of Prince Otto, Germany’s Iron Chancellor and architect of the modern German state, the young von Bismarck showed early promise as a brilliant scholar, but led an exotic life of gilded aimlessness that attracted the attention of the gossip columns from the moment he arrived in Oxford in 1983 and hosted a dinner at which the severed heads of two pigs were placed at either end of the table.
When not clad in the lederhosen of his homeland, he cultivated an air of sophisticated complexity by appearing in women’s clothes, set off by lipstick and fishnet stockings. This aura of dangerous “glamour” charmed a large circle of friends and acquaintances drawn from the jeunesse dorÃ©e of the age.
Many of them knew him at Oxford, where he made friends such as Darius Guppy and Viscount Althorp and became an enthusiastic, rubber-clad member of the Piers Gaveston Society and the drink-fuelled Bullingdon and Loders clubs. Perhaps unsurprisingly he managed only a Third in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.”
full obit is here.
Please don’t ask how I came across this, because I can’t even remember what kind of circuitous route I took to get there, but somehow I wound up at The ListeNerd’s blog and he linked to a great video clip of someone known only as “Operation Bumblebee” singing an a capella version of a song by the band Arcade Fire, while an unidentified person in the foreground paints. It’s a lot better than my description of it makes it sound, I assure you 🙂
Incidentally, there is an actual Operation Bumblebee, aimed at preserving bee populations in Britain, and the same name was also used for a top-secret project involving missile tests by the U.S. Navy. Isn’t the Internet great?
Hugh MacLeod of Gaping Void touched off a small avalanche of blogosphere debate with his post about the “death of the A-list” today — an avalanche that was helped along by my blog pal Kent Newsome (who has written in the past about being on the “M-list”) with his hilarious “Declaration of Blogging Independence”. Other thoughts on the topic include those from Rex Hammock and Ben Yoskovitz, as well as The Last Podcast. But the best comments by far come from my friend Tony Hung at Deep Jive Interests, who makes the point that an A-list will always exist — it’s just human nature (Tony has also posted some further thoughts on the subject over at The Blog Herald). And it’s worth reading the comments on Tony’s DJI post and the ones at Hugh’s post as well. I think Hugh’s point is somewhat different than his headline implied. And if you need a succinct and, well… uncensored take on the whole issue, you could do worse than to check out Loren’s video at 1938media.