Dan Gillmor’s Bayosphere will become part of Backfence, giving the Virginia media startup a foothold in Silicon Valley. Gillmor, who wrote a book evangelizing citizen journalism, said among the reasons Bayosphere failed was an insufficiently local focus:

“Although our conversations (some might call them arguments) about Big Issues were interesting, they ultimately may not have served us as well as the ones where we had a personal and more immediate stake in the situation. There are hundreds of places where we can beat each other up about Iraq and Bush. There are relatively few where we can help each other through the daily travails and joys of our communities.”

Well said. Backfence has local sites in four affluent suburbs in the Distrist of Columbia metropolitan area. How will it localize Bayosphere? To geographics slices of Silicon Valley. Or to its technology community? Both are interesting possibilities. I mentioned Backfence once or twice about a year ago. More recently I referenced a Backfence advertising tactic that seemed to be working out.

In a similar vein, Paid Content notes that Weblogs, Inc., the blog business co-founded by Jason Calacanis and acquired by AOL, has launched a blogzine for the state of Ohio called BloggingOhio.com. And Jonathan Weber, the former Industry Standard editor who founded the online zine, New West, announced a venture funding round led by TV personality Maury Povich.

While the definition of “local” may vary there is interest in localizing online media.

Tom Abate
‘Cause if you ain’t Mass Media, you’re Mini Media