Friday, December 15, 2006

Citizen journalism site Fresno Famous purchased by McClatchy Newspapers

Huge news in the world of citizen journalism: Fresno Famous, Cali citizen journalism site founded by Jara Euston was purchased by the Fresno Bee--one of the crown jewels in the historic McClatchy newspaper chain...

While the Bee will own Fresno Famous, it will be managed separately from the newspaper:
"Fresno Famous will remain separate from The Fresno Bee newspaper, but will gain the resources of a much larger media company. We owe our success to the community of users on the site, and know this sale will only improve user experience," said Euston.

Congratulations Jara!

Sister site Modesto Famous was also purchased by McClatchy.
"Purchasing a strong franchise such as gives The Bee another way in which to reach younger readers with information they seek," said Valerie Bender, vice president of custom publications for The Bee. “Our intention is to keep the high standard of blogging and information that has led to the success of and to, over time, continue to grow the content and opportunities for citizen journalism on the site."

Bender will be taking over management of Fresno Famous from Euston, who will aid with the transition over the next six months.

This development, in a unusual way, echoes the evolution of the McClatchy chain. In the last century--1922 to be exact--Carlos McClatchy launched the Fresno Bee. In 1927, McClatchy bought the News-Herald of Modesto and renamed it the Modesto Bee.

And let's all hope that McClatchy keeps its word on maintaining the integrityity of both Fresno Famous and its sister Modesto Famous...but read the comments in the Fresno Famous post about the takeover. IMHO, I worry about this sort of thing because there is a need for independent, watchdog citizen journalism sites. It's not to say that all local papers are horrid and corrupt, with crappy, meaningless journalism--no, not at all. But sometimes stories fall through the cracks at local papers (that, nowadays, are squeaking for cash) and having a web presence that looks at a different side of the local scene isn't really a bad thing. Many in the mainstream journalism community don't seem to trust The People to write about where they live with a level of journalistic integrity--a good portion of the journalism community have bought the hype that because they have a particular education that they are of a "priestly" class (I've heard it--it's nauseating.) That kind of talk reminds me of the elitism among Christiantan preachers--there are those who go to high-brow Divinity schools, and those who preach without a "fancy education." Yet both are preachers and both serve the people in their own ways. Both types of preachers do their part to preserve freedom of religion in this country...doesn't it seem to follow, then, that two kinds of journalism, the kind practiced in newsrooms and the kind practiced on cit j sites, are both doing their thing to preserve freedom of speech?

think about it.

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