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Updated: Bakersfield Paper May Shutter Community Sites; Execs Offer Differing Views

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The Bakersfield Californian has been something of a pioneer in spinning out community web sites from its main newspaper site. But now, as practically every newspaper is rushing to build up their social-media offerings, The Californian’s John Wells tells AIM Group’s Classified Intelligence Report (PDF only) that the paper’s thinking of shuttering local community events and classifieds site Bakotopia, and the Bakersfield Voice.

8 Responses to “Updated: Bakersfield Paper May Shutter Community Sites; Execs Offer Differing Views”

  1. Francis Hamit

    I live in the Mountain communities south of Bakersfield. The Californian is no longer distributed here and the local stringer told me that they will no longer pay him for coverage of events here. The L.A. Times is here and sells pretty well from the honor boxes. .

    Amateur community journalism can only do so much and the Californian always struck me as "news light" compared to the Times, but they are simply abandoning this area. Why would anyone give them free copy if they aren't here?

  2. Dan Pacheco

    The Bakomatic sites aren't my area of responsibility anymore, but Logan was pretty clear above and in his blog posting that shutting those sites down isn't under consideration.

    Now that you know that I think you should consider changing the headline on this story. Just my opinion.

  3. Mark Briggs

    I'm also glad to hear the sites are not getting killed. They have been a source of inspiration for online projects at many other newspapers that, if they could trade places, would love to solve the "problem" of monetizing a loyal, engaged audience. (Few newspapers, unfortunately, have been able to execute as well, however.)

    And you have to assume the news operation is able to rely on contributors in large part because of the relationship these sites have helped build. So the entire benefit can't be measured with a single line item on the balance sheet.

  4. Staci D. Kramer

    @Dan — I certainly hope the sites keep going and that the Californian straightens out its own message. David's questions — and the response he got — couldn't have been clearer. If the sites are completely protected, John Wells had the chance to say so. We've also included Logan's comments.

  5. Dan Pacheco

    I helped start those sites back in 2004 and I'm glad they're not getting killed.

    Aside from the reports on the "shuttering" being untrue, I think there's a larger lesson here about how people interpret rapid change. What looks like death to one looks like transformation to another. What I see happening in media across the board is massive metamorphosis, and this is just one example of it. More on that here:

  6. David Kaplan

    Logan: In the interview with AIM, and later in an interview with us afterward, John Wells was pretty clear that the paper would be considering whether to continue the websites, not just the print versions. He was not as definitive about their continued existence as you seem to be.

  7. Logan Molen

    Um, not so fast. We have no plans to shut down the Bakotopia or BakersfieldVoice websites.

    Not sure if it's the result of sloppy reporting or a complete unawareness that these sites had companion publications or what, but I've posted a response at