AOL to boston.com, Wicked Local: You're going down
By adamg on Fri, 02/19/2010 - 6:43pm
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.
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New news sources in these towns is great, but ...
... I'd be more impressed if Patch moved into some other areas that are basically one-newspaper towns. Competition would definitely light a fire under the feet of GateHouse and other suburban newspaper owners, and improve the quality of community news coverage. In my town, there was a major local connection to the Amy Bishop case, yet the local paper didn't even have a story about it, and the online version only had a sloppy rewrite of a WCVB website report.
One other question about Patch: What's the business model? Not many local advertisers are rushing to start online banner ad campaigns, which are more expensive and complicated than basic search and Facebook advertising.
Hyperlocal and Amy Bishop
Braintree, or Peabody?
Actually, Newton. She was a
Actually, Newton. She was a suspect in an attempted mail bombing of a Harvard professor in Newton in the early 1990s.
"rich-white-suburban news division" ?
That's a bit odd. You have this strange habit of injecting race into stories. Does that somehow assuage whatever Great White Guilt you may have?
It's because I don't see dead people
Look at the map of Patch's current towns. Maybe you don't see a pattern there, but I do. Wake me when they start a Bed-Stuy or Mattapan site.
Wake me when they start a
So what do you think is important - rich, or white?
So, to answer your next question, no, I don't think Patch is deliberately avoiding minority areas. The end result, however, is the same.
Agreed. Lived here my whole life, but I still find that this habit of pre-fitting every stray thought into a simplistic race/class category box to be off-putting and strange. I am always surprised when Adam slaps those throw-away racial labels on otherwise unrelated ideas.
Not to belabor it, but I was surprised to find out that this is not a universal thing across America, nor even across Massachusetts. This particular representation of it ("rich-white-suburban"), I think it's some kind of hyper-local affectation, like a north somerville accent. From what I can understand, it seems to be specific to the cultural inheritance of Bostonians of "ethnic white" descent (Irish, Italians, Jews, Greeks, etc) who participated in what I think is termed "white flight" from certain large parts of Boston in the period of 1950-1980, leaving for the nearby suburbs?
In other areas of the country, such as outside LA, you will find suburbs which are majority-minority, and so the melange of ideas and feelings that you find there related to the word "suburban" are entirely different...
What would actually be exciting
Another media company taking a corporate, top-down approach to hyperlocal news is not particularly exciting. The only way anyone is going to challenge Wicked Local and Your Town is with a locally based, grassroots effort. There are already plenty of fine examples in Greater Boston. But what that means is some communities will have great hyperlocal sites, some will have terrible sites, and some won't have any at all. So be it. You can't impose a vision of hyperlocal news from above.
Greater Grafton, which is now hiring a reporter.
Same editor, though. Greater Grafton's my blog, but it's CentralMassNews.com that's doing the hiring -- we're looking for people to cover Holden, Northborough and Westborough. Our sites right now include TheDailyGrafton.com (that's the first in the chain, and the one I write, and it celebrates its first anniversary next month), TheDailyNorthbridge.com, TheDailyShrewsbury.com, TheDailyMillbury.com, TheDailyAuburn.com and TheDailyLeicester.com.