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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.
The Orange County Register is a daily newspaper based in Orange County, Calif. It is the second-largest newspaper in California and 14th largest newspaper in the U.S., with a combined 356,165 print and digital subscribers as of March 2013. The paper originated as the Santa Ana Daily Register in 1905, changing names twice more before…