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Posts Tagged ‘Brian Farnham’

Ken Paulson Joins Patch Board of Advisors

Ken Paulson, the founding editor of USA Today, has joined Patch’s Board of Advisors. Paulson currently serves as president and CEO of Vanderbilt University’s First Amendment Center. He was one of the journalists who founded USA Today in 1982.

“There is no greater advocate for the first amendment and journalism than Ken Paulson,” said Patch co-founder Warren Webster, in a statement. “He has been an innovator throughout his career and will bring a critical voice to the development of Patch as the leading local information platform. We welcome Ken and look forward to his insights as we continue to chart new territory.”

Paulson joins a board that already includes Philip Meyer, Steven Berlin Johnson, Jeff Jarvis, and Brian Farnham.

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Most Popular FishbowlNY Stories for the Week

Here’s a look at what FishbowlNY stories made the most buzz this week.

  1. Gawker’s Fox News Mole Reveals … Nothing [Update], April 11
  2. Brian Stelter is New York Media’s Best Boyfriend, April 6
  3. Patch Editor Resigns Brian Farnham, April 11
  4. Hot 97′s Summer Jam 2012 Set for June 3, April 9
  5. New York Times Reporter’s Email Attacking Arthur Sulzberger Leaked, April 10

Keep up-to-date with the latest FishbowlNY news. Click here to sign-up for the FishbowlNY daily newsletter, bringing you our articles each afternoon directly to your inbox.

Patch Editor Brian Farnham Resigns

The editor-in-chief of Patch, Brian Farnham,  has just resigned in a company-wide conference call with Patch staffers, FishbowlNY has learned.

Update: Farnham has posted on Patch’s blog to explain his decision:

I’m leaving for an assortment of reasons, but I’m glad to be able to say that none of them is negative. I love Patch, and I plan on staying very connected as an active alum, most specifically as a member of the advisory board we’re continuing to build. I feel incredibly lucky and grateful that I can maintain this connection, and I’ll be there anytime Patch calls on me.

Farnham’s last day with Patch is May 4, he says he plans on going into the field to give as many personal goodbyes as he can.

In February, Patch hired Rachel Fishman Feddeson as its chief content officer, with Farnham becoming essentially the number two person in the editorial team. The company has been the subject of intense media scrutiny over the last few months, much of it negative. Nevertheless, AOL says it remains committed to the company and its mission.

Patch founder and president Jon Brod released a statement of his own regarding Farnham’s departure:

“Brian is part of Patch’s DNA, which makes his decision to leave bittersweet for all of us. We’re going to miss him, but it goes without saying that we wish him well and that we’re excited to see what new opportunities await him post-Patch. We are grateful for his contributions to our company, and to all of us as colleagues and friends. He leaves Patch in a great place: proud of how far we’ve come and more committed than ever to continuing to grow and prosper.”

Patch Hires First CCO, Defends Performance

Patch announced the appointment of its first chief content officer. Rachel Fishman Feddersen will oversee the Patch consumer strategy and create scaled content and product initiatives to help enhance the user experience across the Patch platform. She will work closely with national, regional and local editorial leadership, Patch’s product and engineering teams, and AOL and Huffington Post Media Group.

“Rachel is a world-class expert at engaging online audiences and connecting communities with the information they care most about – which is the foundation of Patch’s mission,” said Jon Brod, president of AOL Local, Mapping and Ventures and a founder of Patch.

Fishman Feddersen joins Patch from The Parenting Group, where she most recently served as editorial director, digital content, strategy and design, overseeing digital development of the Parenting, Babytalk and Conceive brands and their online extensions.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to join Patch,” said Fishman Feddersen.  ”Patch has an enormous opportunity to change the way people consume and share information on a local level, and I am very much looking forward to working with the residents of Patch communities, our editors, and the rest of the team to create the type of experiences that will engage and delight the Patch audience.”

The announcement comes on the heels of Patch’s most recent earnings call for investors where AOL CEO Tim Armstrong defended the company he cofounded, which according to some experts and insiders,  is experiencing estimated losses of $150 million, investor frustration, and overall underperformance.

Here’s some of what he had to say:

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Patch Triples its Traffic; Steps Up Local Election Coverage

The hyperlocal news platform Patch has been criticized for a number of reasons, including its traffic, which some say should be higher based on the organization’s operating costs.

Apparently, the property has been working on it. It tripled its UV traffic between December 2010 and December 2011 according to comScore data released this week.

This makes Patch the fourth largest regional/local property behind Yelp (#1); CityGrid (#2), Yahoo! Local (#3), and followed by CBS Local (#5). In December 2010, it ranked #10.

Last month, Patch, which currently has 863 sites in 22 states, including Washington, D.C. showed a 5% traffic bump over November.

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Patch Gets Big Traffic Bump From Hurricane Irene

AOL’s hyper-local site network, Patch, is all about what happens close to home. That’s its draw. And since we always report about it — with plenty of not-so-great-news — we figured we’d pass along this: The sites collectively experienced a 75 percent traffic increase over the weekend as a result of Hurricane Irene coverage. Not only that, according to Patch, the sites that cover the areas that were impacted by Irene saw five times more traffic than usual.

Brian Farnham, Editor-in-Chief of Patch, told FishbowlNY that the nature of Patch helped it win people’s attention.

“With wall-to-wall storm coverage on seemingly every channel, it may seem odd that Patch, too, proved to be so necessary to communities affected by Irene,” said Farnham. “But over and over again we heard the same thing from our users in these regions: ‘Patch was our essential source for information during the hurricane.’ After all, whether winds added up to Cat 1 or Cat 2 or ‘just’ a tropical storm doesn’t matter as much to people as whether their town is flooded or when their power will come back on.”

Moments like Irene are when Patch should thrive, and this must give those behind the site a bit of hope going forward. If more people start considering their local Patch site before CNN or somewhere else, that’s a big win for the network.

Patch EIC Wants More Posts Per Day

When AOL first launched its Patch network, the professed idea of the endeavor was to bring good-old-fashioned, hyperlocal community journalism to the web. That notion appears to be dissolving more every day. Street Fight got a hold of an internal memo from Patch EIC Brian Farnham. It reads in part:

…right now we’ve got 68 sites producing 6 or more articles per day, so we know it can be done. I can also say that because “article” does not have to mean “800 word piece.” And I can say that because of this: in South Florida, 14 sites just completed a three-month test that proved you can do 7 posts a day, hit your UV goals, come in under budget, and cut the LE work hours to between 40-50 hours/week. … So not only is more production possible, done smartly it’s possible to do with less pain.

As anyone who’s ever blogged knows, posting seven aggregated items is certainly doable. But breaking seven original, three-source stories in a day? Not gonna happen. Never. Not unless you have several reporters working for you. Most Patch editors are given a small (and shrinking every day) freelance budget. But not the kind that can afford to hire that much original reporting.

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Patch Launches Blogger Platform

Those 8,000 bloggers Patch said they were going to “hire” are apparently ready to go, because Arianna Huffington just posted – on a Patch in Minnesota no less – that the network has launched “Local Voices,” its blogging platform.

The post contains a lot of words praising Patch before getting to the point, that the bloggers can be anyone, and the Local Voices program will make Patch even better:

Local Voices will complement Patch’s original reporting, allowing you, as a member of the community, to speak up and speak out to your neighbors – whether they’re across town, a block away, or two doors down. Local Voices reflects our belief that community residents feel deeply about their local issues, and deserve the chance to share their thoughts on issues great and small.

Obviously Huffington is hoping that the formula she used with The Huffington Post works for Patch as well. The problem, of course, is that a Patch in Fridley, Minnesota, doesn’t exactly offer the kind of exposure that HuffPo did. But hey, if the writers for Local Voices are indeed high school students, like Patch’s Editor-in-Chief Brian Farnham says they can be, at least they won’t have money to sue one day.

Patch to Add 8,000 Bloggers

As FishbowlNY has noted in the past, it’s often feast or famine when writing about AOL/HuffPo news. According to Forbes, it appears that it’s time to stuff our faces once again, because, AOL’s hyperlocal news network, is adding 8,000 bloggers in preparation of its new blogging platform.

That’s good news, right? Well, not so much.We’re hearing that the bloggers might not be paid.

Brian Farnham, Patch’s Editor-in-Chief, says that adding blogging is just the next step for the sites:

The introduction of blogging on our sites is far more than just the release of a new feature. It is a full-on course correction heading Patch in the direction we want to go.

We’re trying to get confirmation on the paid aspect right now, and we’ll update as soon as we find out more.

AOL Patch To Recruit 8,000 Unpaid Bloggers

Under the leadership of Arianna Huffington, it looks like the whole AOL Patch-paying-writers-thing may be about to go up in smoke. Former AOL writer and current Forbes blogger Jeff Bercovici got wind of Patch‘s new plan to add 8,000 bloggers in the next week. A memo sent out last Friday from Patch editor-in-chief Brian Farnham tells Patch editors to recruit 4-5 new bloggers each by the May 4 deadline. And since Patch editors have seen their freelance budgets slashed, this presumably means these bloggers will be writing for free–HuffPo-style.

“The introduction of blogging on our sites is far more than just the release of a new feature,” Farnham said, in the memo obtained by Bercovici. “It is a full-on course correction heading Patch in the direction we want to go.

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