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Backfence was a network of user-driven hyperlocal news sites that launched in 2005 and closed in 2007.
Backfence was founded in 2005 by Mark Potts and Susan DeFife with five staff members and two community sites in the Washington, D.C., area. It raised $3 million in local and national investment and eventually expanded to 13 sites near Washington, Chicago, and San Francisco.
Backfence averaged about one full-time staff member per site, though its content came from users, who could blog, edit wikis or post photos there. The company was supported by self-service display and classified advertising. The site was considered at the time one of the bellwethers of the “citizen journalism” movement.
GateHouse Media is a newspaper company based in Fairport, N.Y., that owns hundreds of small papers across the country. GateHouse owns 91 dailies and hundreds of weeklies and shoppers, many of them in Massachusetts, Illinois and New York. It was formed in 2005 by Fortress Investment Group out of the former Liberty Group Publishing. In…