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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Front Porch Forum on PBS Blog

Last week I wrote about Front Porch Forum succeeeding where iBurlington has failed as a hyperlocal citizen journalism news source.

The other day, FPF founder Michael Wood-Lewis emailed to tell me that the PBS blog Media Shift put up a post asking people to describe their favorite hyperlocal news sources. The post has attracted 22 comments, nearly all of them from FPF members touting their neighborhood email newsletters.

The large number of FPF supporters obviously suggests that there was a coordinated campaign to encourage people to post their comments, but the fact that so many people responded is an indication that FPF has built a strong community of users who care about it — pretty impressive considering how difficult it's been to get other independent initiatives off the ground.

Some excerpts from a sample comment on the PBS blog:

[Re: FPF] We use it to share whatever is in our garage, learn who is sick in the neighborhood and find out what is happening in local politics...

We have collected 150 sets of silverware from garage sales and tag sales and let our neighbors know through Front Porch Forum that they can borrow our bucket of silver whenever they have a large gathering. So much better than using those petroleum based plastic forks and spoons.

We found out through Front Porch Forum when our neighbor's son was shipped out to Iraq and were able to contribute to weekly care packages sent by another neighbor.

We find out about everything from public hearings to lemonade stands through this service and as a school board trustee I get direct feedback from my constituents.

We love Front Porch Forum.

By Jeff Forward  6:28AM on 24 Jul 07

People often talk about hearing local news on the forum, and using it to exchange goods with neighbors. If you understand the importance of classified ad revenue, you can see why this might make a daily newspaper nervous.


July 26, 2007 at 07:58 AM in VT Blogs | Permalink


Thanks for the posting, Cathy. I guess I'm guilty of the "coordinated effort." ;-) Actually, all I did was point to the PBS.org blog in a post to the FPF Neighborhood Volunteers (about 200 self-selected FPF members in Chittenden County). I said if they wanted to add their two cents and mention Front Porch Forum it might further the cause. We're bowled over by what people are writing and how many have taken the time. I wonder what would happen if we asked the full FPF membership (5,000 local households and counting)? -Michael

Posted by: Michael Wood-Lewis | Jul 26, 2007 11:58:35 AM

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