04:18 AM

1.15.07: Timeframe for citjour: 10 years?

With Backfence now on life support, we wonder: Is citizen journalism (citjour) dead? Was it even a good idea? One could make an argument that citjour was one of those memes that bounced around the media blogosphere until it became self-evidently a must-do - but did anyone ask the citizens?

In a piece on Backfence's demise (yes, demise, says one of Backfence's angels: "At this point, I don't look for any return or any prospect of recovery"), The Washington Post quotes consultant Vin Crosbie:

"Realistically, it's going to take close to 10 years for the business models to be there and for there to be enough advertisers willing to give money to hyperlocal start-ups," said Vin Crosbie, managing partner of Digital Deliverance, a Connecticut media consulting firm. "Backfence's problem is that it was too early."

Cofounder Susan DeFife is hooking up with two former VPs to create a consulting firm. Her former partner Mark Potts, who had already left the company, is returning to run what's left of the company.

"It always ends up being so much different than the way you imagine it to be," Potts said. Over the next three months, he said, Backfence will add more features, such as social networking, online video and mapping. "We haven't rolled out as quickly as we'd wanted to. But we think the basic concept we went after is absolutely still the right place to be."