Posted on Tuesday, July 17, 2007 by Michael
Cathy Resmer writes about a couple failed local citizen journalism sites today, the Winooski Eagle and…
iBurlington — “Burlington Vermont’s Blog” — a local citizen journalism site, launched in 2005.
Creator Brian Brown had high hopes for the project, which he modeled after the successful CJ community iBrattleboro. In March of 2005, Brown told Seven Days he expected to sign up more contributors and get more traffic than iBrat, if only because Burlington’s a bigger city.
But it didn’t happen that way.
Front Porch Forum founder Michael Wood-Lewis was also at the [local bloggers] BBQ. FPF is a neighborhood email newsletter, not really a web-based tool, but it’s definitely succeeding in some respects where iBurlington failed. That just occurred to me as I was writing this post, and it’s definitely something to think about.
Thanks Cathy. I agree. Front Porch Forum seems to defy pigeon-holing… it’s not a blog, not a wiki, not a mail list… what is it?!?! I guess we should come up with some technical term for FPF… but it’s really just something new and different… and successful. While email is our primary distribution method currently, that’s not really what FPF is about… just a vehicle we’re using now.
In a way, FPF is hosting 130 group-written blogs, each focused on a neighborhood and written by a host of contributors/neighbors. Our most active neighborhood forums have 90% of the households on board.
Blogs are small, independent, decentralized, self-appointed, low-capital, etc, compared to traditional media. Well, FPF takes it another step, giving the masses an online platform to share their thoughts and needs with their neighbors through its neighborhood forums. So while starting a blog is much easier to do than starting a newspaper, it’s still not doable for many, if not most, of the population. On the other hand, anyone who can handle email can participate in Front Porch Forum and add their voice to the online conversation.