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The lack of SFist coverage of points south of San Francisco is actually my own fault. I live down here and I've been hoping to do more of it this year but am having a really hard time finding the pulse of this place in any way that I think would be interesting to our readers. Backfence/Bayosphere may actually fill a very specific niche - one on a much smaller scale than we'd do at the 'Fist even. I've always wondered what happened to local community portals - the niche that should/could probably exist between the city council/school board and the hometown newspaper with some very specific classifieds thrown in - why did they never go anywhere?

I also think they could be very successful because people are VERY concerned about their own town here but not always what's going on next door (short of what new restaurants are opening) and at the same time they could easily fail on the scale of trying to create a "Silicon Valley"-sized model. The main thing that ties these communities together is industry but that's already well-covered elsewhere.

You're right on target about the failure of the local metros to cover the communities north of San Jose and south of San Francisco. Each town represents a huge opportunity that is only beginning to be plumbed.

The Merc's coverage of Silicon Valley has always been anemic and boosterish. The Chron dominates northern San Mateo County is a fashion that they in no way deserve. And communities from Santa Clara in the south to Daly City in the north are not getting the coverage that they deserve. There are more than a dozen communities on the peninsula that would have their own dailies and radio stations if they were located further from the Chron/Merc sphere of influence and outside the broadcast footprint of Twin Peaks.

Personal note: Actually, the Backfence folks have been trying to meet with me for about a month. I've been out of town every time they're in the Bay Area.

I've been in PAMP (the parents club u mention) for 4 years, and now serve on their Board of Directors. Our 2400 member families don't want to participate in citizen journalism. They want to communicate with each other in a private space where they feel comfortable emailing their phone #s and addresses. Some members do a group blog:

Hi everyone - sorry, had such a crazy week that I haven't been able to respond until now!

Mary-Lynn, SFist is terrific. I don't see how you can carry an entire peninsula solo, however, so don't be too hard on yourself! I agree that industry is one deep and abiding tie in these communities -- for myself I'd also have to add a zillion other topics, from child care, to the coexistence of bicyclists and motorists, to free wireless. Now that the boom/bust cycle has calmed and people who live here are no longer experiencing a crush of new residents or a mass exodus, the timing seems good. I think you're right that hyperlocal is the way for Backfence to go.

Barry, I am really glad to hear it! And as someone who now lives on the coast, thank you so much for all the work you're doing to chronicle this decade's closure of Devil's Slide. You are a household name and your blog is breakfast table reading.

Hi enoch,

Thanks for commenting -- Just to be clear, I am not suggesting that Backfence partner with PAMP. I offer up a link to your excellent site as an example of the Web sophistication, personal priorities and ethic of people who live and work in the mid-peninsula. Anyone who covers this area needs to "get" us parents!

And yes, the SV Mom Blog is super. I recommend it.

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