@ Networked J-Summit: Citizen Journalists And The Continued Search For New Business Models

Why did hyperlocal aggregator Backfence fail and community sites like MySpace succeed? No real answers posed to that question, but some attempts to discuss what’s needed to further development among social media properties presented during a panel discussion at CUNY’s Networked Journalism Summit:

Mark Potts of Recovering Journalist and Backfence: Potts began by introducing himself as the force behind Backfence, which closed its 13 local sites this past summer: “the train-wreck that everybody loved to watch.” To move the next level, what do we need? “A business model.”

Debra Gallant of Baristanet.com: Access to faster technological help. Libel insurance and other legal services. Comments are the hardest things we have to deal with. It makes the site exciting and sometimes we have a lot of negativity that drives away advertisers. Does every microbrewery have to become Budweiser? There’s pressure to become rich. I’m thinking about expanding incrementally, using Dan’s Paper’s out in the Hamptons as a model.

Jonathan Weber of New West: Compensation models for contributors and staff is something we need to work on going forward. Plus, taking a reporter and saying you’re not going to write this story in the same way anymore.

Scott Clark of the Houston Chronicle: Journalism has a weak management culture and management skills – editorial and business – are sorely needed in this new environment.