Dan Gillmor's Bayosphere citizen media project, the San Francisco Bay Area citizen media site that my colleague Heather Green wrote about a couple months ago, is being acquired by Backfence.com--which apparently has been more successful in creating hyperlocal communities. Backfence, which started in two communities in Virginia almost a year ago, will launch five new Bay Area sites, starting with Palo Alto in May.
The timing could be good for Backfence--if not for local newspapers. The San Jose Mercury News' fate, as well as that of the local tabloid daily newspapers it owns (including in Palo Alto) is in limbo as new owner McClatchy tries to sell it off. The Palo Alto Weekly has some innovative online features, such as its Fogster classified-ad site, but not much overt community involvement. So it will be interesting an interesting test to see what approach wins out--or is there room for both?
Heather has more on Blogspotting.