Just caught an article that ran in yesterday’s New York Times about various local citizen journalism initiatives being carried out by individuals. (Also, make sure to check out David Carr’s interesting take on journalists blogging, and pay particularly attention to the section about news judgment being affected by page view metrics).
While Bob Tedeschi citizen journalism story is a nice look at the trend, I felt the story glossed over the profitability of the sites. About one site, Tedeschi writes:
“Readership [at WestportNow.com] is growing, he said, with between 5,000 and 7,000 visitors clicking on the site daily. Advertising revenues are also increasing, he said. Although the site still loses money, Mr. Joseloff said he hoped to develop similar sites elsewhere in Fairfield County.”
Aside from that line, the article gives no sense as to whether these other small hyperlocal sites will implode like Backfence seems to be doing. Of course, for those doing it strictly out of passion, then I suppose it doesn’t really matter, now does it?
And on a side note, let me give kudos to the Times for their new social networking features, particularly the permalink feature. Even though Michael Arrington angrily dissed it, I think it’s a great thing.
[UPDATE - Jan. 16] Liz George from Baristanet and Gordon Joseloff from WestportNow have responded in the comments. Tish Grier says on her blog that “the New York Times doesn’t quite get what citizen journalism is about.”