Jim Romensko reports a new "chief content officer" will reduce full-time and freelance budgets and call for greater emphasis on easily churned out content:
The editorial emphasis is now on "easy, quick-hitting, cookie-cutter copy," including mandatory "Best Of" features (i.e., best coffeeshop, best burgers, etc.) that compel businesses and readers to visit and participate in the Patch directories. (Each Patch has a directory of local businesses, organizations, churches, etc.)
The hyperlocal Ariannanet, not nicotine, that is. On Red Mass. Group, Swamp Yankee finds our local Patch sites to be a wretched hive of scum and villainy, i.e., run by members of the commie Obama clone army, busily dog-whistling their liberal agenda in Little League reports and car-crash photos:
I searched the background of local editors in some communities that I know intimately, and, as I suspected, the editors are sophisticated, liberal activists.
Forbes reports that the Huffington Patch has changed its plans for
world hyperlocal domination. Instead of hiring more fulltime reporters and editors, the suits yesterday ordered Patch editors to get five to ten local bloggers to start writing by May 4. No pay, but you get keep ownership of your words (shades of Boston Now).
In Massachusetts, the directive would mean signing up between 380 and 760 bloggers for the company's current roster of 76 neighborhoods and towns.
Dan Kennedy gets an earful from an editor at one of Patch's new Boston-area sites.
Will Patch have every Boston neighborhood covered before boston.com does even one Your Town site in its own city?By adamg - 7/14/10 - 11:53 pm
The AOL hypermicrominisuperlocal effort is opening up sites for Jamaica Plain and the South End.
David Ertischek, editor of GateHouse's West Roxbury and Roslindale Transcript, is leaving to become editor of Patch's soon-to-emerge West Roxbury site. He joins Neal Simpson, who stopped covering Brookline for GateHouse so he could start covering it for Patch.
Ed. note: You have to read the Transcript's story about Ertischek leaving. Seems nobody else was available to do it, so he wrote it himself.
AOL's Patch hyperlocal network is advertising jobs for editors of new sites in Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Charlestown and the South End, as well as all of Boston, according to postings on the AOL corporate site.
The incursion is a full scale attack on, well, almost nobody, since boston.com has yet to set up a single Your Town hyperlocal site in the city it's named for. The South End News does have a longstanding site, unlike the Back Bay Courant, which doesn't get this InterWebs thing.
In addition to these jobs, Patch is also advertising for editors in the sort of suburban towns now the domain of GateHouse Media's Wicked Local sites. And it's advertising for a Boston-specific ad director.
Lost Remote takes a look at Patch's massive expansion in metro areas across the country.
NOTE: AOL uses some furshlugginer token system to keep you from bookmarking specific job postings. If you want to see where Patch is hiring locally, go to the AOL careers page, click on Search Openings, then select Patch as the brand and United States - Massachusetts - Boston as the location.
Patch, AOL's attempt at a national network of community sites, recently went live in Needham, giving that town's online news consumers three different places to read about Peter Smulowitz and the guy charged with trying to kill his young child - whom Wicked Local says is a girl, Boston.com's Your Town says is a boy and Patch says is a child.
All three sites are very similar in what they seem to be doing: News, sports, calendar listings, information about the town (Patch helpfully notes which officials are "important officials"). In other words: Recreating a traditional weekly community newspaper, from back in the day when stuff like that was called "local" insteady of "hyperlocal." Wicked Local and Your Town have more depth at this point, having been around longer, and their writing is a lot more polished. Wicked Local is bloggier, Patch makes its employees volunteer in the town and is encouraging local folks to generate some user content (i.e., write for free), Your Town links to stuff on other sites (and has what appears to be dead forums - the most recent post was from almost two months ago).
Ultimately, of course, the question is whether even a well off town like Needham can support three full-time Web sites - are there enough advertisers who want to reach those 30,000 people?
If you live in Needham, how do you get your local news these days?
Not only does AOL's nascent Belmont site have an editor, it's hiring freelance news and sports writers (hey, anybody else old enough to remember when people like that were called "stringers?").
Neal Simpson, who's spent the past three years covering Brookline for the Tab and Wicked Local, sent out e-mail today to announce he'll be working for Patch, which is taking on GateHouse and Globe YourTown sites in Boston's leafier suburbs. He promises Brookline Patch will be "stocked with breaking news, local info and plenty of opportunities for you to get involved."
Patch, the AOL rich-white-suburban news division that claims to have the resources to start hundreds of neighborhood sites this year, is moving deeper into suburban Boston - they're advertising for a Needham reporter (no doubt the folks at boston.com and Wicked Local are quivering). Among the things Patch is looking for: "'Bull-doggish' reporting instincts and willingness to ask tough questions of important people" - and, ideally, participation on a school paper.
This is actually Patch's second planned Boston foray - they started looking for a Sudbury reporter last month.
Patch, which is AOL's
latest effort to blow through millions of dollars hyperlocal play, is looking to bust out of its current Tri-State playpen and move into the Boston area, starting with Sudbury. They're looking to hire somebody to compile descriptions of businesses and organizations in Sudbury, which is almost as affluent as Wellesley or Concord, just a lot quieter. Says you can make $400-$1,000 a week for up to six months doing this. They think it's going to take six months to do profiles of every business on Rte. 20? Huh!