Anyone who's worked in the software industry is familiar with "the legacy problem" -- the fact that it's often easier to build something new from scratch than it is to overhaul and extend an existing system.
I certainly believed that the Legacy Conundrum applied to news sites -- that it would be easier, in many ways, to create a community site from scratch than it would be to effectively integrate community features into the website of your average metro daily newspaper in North America.
As the broad shakeout in news industry continues, I see more and more "from scratch" projects. What have I found?
It's not necessarily easier to build a community site from scratch -- at least not with a major mental overhaul first.
This year I've read dozens of project descriptions from news organizations or individuals with experience in those organizations for new community sites -- but fewer than a handful have more than the bare minimum of participatory features; most are simply another website that gives a visitor a message that their job here is to passively consume information.