This was sent to me today by a media professional from out of state who knows I like the local Patch efforts. I find these web articles kind of sad to read, almost surprising in fact.
I will note that I have done freelance photography for Patch in the past, and hopefully my posting this will not adversely affect that capability. Of course if it does, it will make for an interesting follow-up post, right? But I figure this is newsworthy since Patch is becoming such a big part of our online lives locally and I have noticed other news outlets mimicking the Patch concept.
Patch has acquired a lot of local newsie folks we know and love, too, hasn't it? It seems to be big business around here.
There are Patch micro new sites all over the country and I have seen them in other states where friends and family live and I still like the concept since local news is a fading art form.
I am curious as to how everyone feels about Patch now that they have been around here a while? Read the below and feel free to post your thoughts - I just don't know what to think.
Now check out what I am calling "Scorched Web on Patch":
LEAKED: The $1,000 CPM Patch Rate Card
Nicholas Carlson | Jul. 20, 2011, 12:26 PM
In hopes of finding a way to replace its declining dial-up business, AOL is investing ~$150 million into a network of local news sites called Patch.
(AOL is also investing in the Huffington Post, which it acquired during the spring.)
We've been speaking with current and former Patch employees about whether or not the experiment is working. We also heard from a Patch advertiser.
The latest source we've spoken to is still a salesperson at Patch. This person is not happy, and is looking to quit as soon as possible.
The salesperson says one reason is that "corporate does not care one bit about their clients whatsoever."
Confessions Of Patch Salesperson: "It's Been A Disaster"
Nicholas Carlson | Jun. 8, 2011, 4:33 PM
AOL SHAKE-UP: Patch Gets A New Boss, Tim Steps In, And Arianna Consolidates Power
Nicholas Carlson | Jun. 28, 2011, 11:02 AM
Confessions Of A Patch Editor: "The Model Isn't Sustainable"
Nicholas Carlson | Jun. 10, 2011, 11:20 AM
Of course, this is not the only online seemingly professional criticism of Patch, here are a couple more:
July 1, 2011
Patch is the news industry's problem, not its solution
Written by Robert Niles
Jack Shafer's right: hyperlocal efforts are "a complete waste of time and resources" as he suggested this week in Slate.
Shafer missed one crucial qualifier in his hypothesis, though. Hyperlocal's a waste of time and money for national corporations. What's happening in the news industry today is not the Internet destroying the news industry by spreading free content. It's the Internet destroying the national news chain by eliminating of the traditional economies of scale for the news industry.
Shafer bases his arguments on continued criticisms of AOL's Patch.com network. Hey, I teed off on Patch nearly a year ago, so I share the skepticism. But Shafer errs in not even mentioning locally-owned and operated hyperlocal news sites, much less contrasting them with the top-down, corporate-driven AOL/Patch model for hyperlocal coverage.
In Shafer's piece, the alternative to Patch are sites such as Facebook, social networks where residents in a community can get what Shafer calls "social news" about their "interests," as opposed to "hyperlocal news": "the starving-artists exhibition at the farmer's market, increasing parking-meter rates, the city budget, local real estate prices."
But there's an alternative to corporate news chains and corporate social networks: homegrown news communities run by local journalists. That's a model we're encouraging by training dozens of journalist/entrepreneurs in our annual KDMC News Entrepreneur Boot Camps. Freed from the burden of paying for a national management team and Wall Street expectations, local journalists can make hyperlocal pay in ways that big companies such as AOL simply can't.
Why I find AOL's Patch sites so off-putting.
By Jack Shafer
Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2011, at 6:42 PM ET
Is it too late in the game to call hyperlocal efforts a complete waste of time and resources?
Business Insider comes close to convincing me that Patch, AOL's network of hyperlocal sites in 18 states, has little chance of succeeding unless it imitates Groupon and LivingSocial and enters the daily-deals business. Of course, imitating Groupon would not validate the hyperlocal-news idea; it would only validate the daily-deals idea, which needs no validating....If we accept Business Insider's diagnosis of Patch as a business failure, will anybody step forward to make the case that the sites are a journalistic success? I've yet to read that piece. Even hyperlocal enthusiasts like Brian J. Manzullo, who has given the topic ample thought, backs away. One excuse frequently tendered on Patch's behalf is that even though it already has 800 staffers, it's still ramping up. Maybe Patch has a glorious future before it. Business Insider reports that AOL CEO Tim Armstrong says that some of the early Patches will soon be profitable.
My local Patch isn't terrible, but I visit it primarily out of professional duty.