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How Can The San Diego Union Tribune Compete Against Bloggers? Build SDBackyard.com and Invite Them To Contribute

SD Backyard.com is the San Diego Union Tribune’s answer to competition from citizen journalists.   I get the majority of my news from the internet but the local fishwrap does a nice job on the obituaries.  I’m a serial obituary reader (I love people) so the U-T is my Sunday companion on the beach.

I damn near jumped off the blanket this afternoon!

This mainstream medium invited the bloggers into the big tent.  Editor and Publisher magazine reports:

The paper plans to reverse publish some of the content of sdBackyard into community publications.

“sdBackyard.com embraces the growing trends of user-generated content and social media by giving users the tools to create and share content online, with the added benefit of reverse publishing some content into a print product,” George Bonaros, marketing director for the Union-Tribune, said in a statement. “The unique geographic targeting allows small businesses, nonprofit organizations, clubs, and other community groups opportunities to promote themselves in print and online.”

Maybe it’s a content grab but I think the quid pro quo is more than tilted to a business blogger.  Needless to say, I set up a profile, uploaded a ton of video content from Bloodhound Unchained, published a blog post, and keyworded everything.  Like Home Gain Blog, the platform will be shared with the established, stronger home website (in this case, SignOnSanDiego.com) so the “find-ability” via SERPs should be strong in 3-6 months.

It’s too early to tell if the “Community Editors” will go overboard by limiting content but I’m enthused about the possibility SDBackyard.com offers.  Oh, here’s the other cool part; it’s free ! If you thought about building a hyper-local weblog, this very well may be the platform you seek (as long as you back up the content).  I expect that I’ll see Don Reedy in Oceanside, Sean Purcell in La Mesa, Kris Berg in Scripps Ranch, Jeff Brown talking about investment real estate, and Dan Melson talking about mortgages, in the not too distant future.

This is a new project and I’ll be reporting back how the mainstream media embraces its local citizen journalists.  The courtship was painless; let’s see how the marriage proceeds.

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