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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.
Voice Media Group is a Denver-based private company that owns 11 alternative weekly newspapers throughout the United States. Its flagship paper is the New York-based Village Voice, America’s oldest and largest alt-weekly. The company also owns many of the country’s other most prominent weeklies, including LA Weekly, Denver’s Westword, and the Phoenix New Times. Until…