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AOL to Shut Down About 300 Patch.com Websites (Newsday)
AOL plans to close, sell or find partners for nearly a third of its Patch.com local news sites, the company’s chief executive said Wednesday. Of the roughly 900 hyperlocal editions nationwide, nearly 300 are not successful and not likely to attract enough traffic or revenue, Tim Armstrong said in AOL’s second-quarter earnings call with analysts. Forbes / Mixed Media Armstrong suggested that AOL may be able to find willing partners for many of the sites in the numerous struggling metropolitan daily newspapers that have been unable to invest as much as they’d like in their own digital and local operations. Poynter / MediaWire Several Patch employees tell Poynter that on a phone call with site editors Wednesday afternoon, Armstrong said that there was zero probability that Patch would shut down, that the initiative enjoyed support on AOL’s board and that Patch is worth fighting for. FishbowlNY Just how much would a Patch site cost? Armstrong wouldn’t provide a specific number, but said it was “much, much lower” than $150,000, which is what they were estimated at in 2011. BuzzMachine / Jeff Jarvis I have a fourth option, Tim: Invest. Set up independent entrepreneurs — your employees, my entrepreneurial graduates, unemployed newspaper folks — to take over the sites. Offer them the benefit of continued network ad sales — that’s enlightened self-interest for Patch and AOL. Offer them training. Offer them technology. And even offer them some startup capital. Forbes AOL also announced it will buy video platform Adap.tv for $405 million, a reflection of the Internet company’s push to develop its online-advertising business. The cash-and-stock deal will make Adap.tv, a video-ad platform that provides AOL access to the ad technology that the world’s largest companies use, an independent part of AOL’s video unit.
Posts Tagged ‘Jake Dobkin’
For eight years now, Lindsay William-Ross (pictured) has been enlivening the pages of LAist.com, starting out in early 2005 as a volunteer and replacing Zach Behrens as editor-in-chief in November 2010. Come May, her time with the site is scheduled to take a new and delightful turn with the birth of her first child.
“We’re still working out the details, but I expect to take somewhere around eight weeks off,” William-Ross tells FishbowlLA. “My current team of stellar associate editors will be assuming some of my duties, but I suspect we will bring on another set of hands in some sort of capacity to help them out. I produce around 125 posts per month, so in order to sustain our healthy traffic, I’d like to see someone else on board to keep up our volume.”
Friends of William-Ross and whose who follow the single-mom-to-be on Twitter know there is one other key member at her West Toluca Lake household. One whose world is about to similarly be rocked.
“Ah yes, Hank….” William-Ross responds when asked about her pet cat, the subject of many fond tweets. “He has a bit of a cult following. He is the most amazing cat in the world, though.”
Gothamist, the blog that covers anything and everything New York, has entered the world of long form writing in a big way. Today the site has published snippets of a piece titled, “Confessions of a ‘Rape Cop’ Juror.” The article was written by Patrick Kirkland, one of the jurors who acquitted the infamous NYPD “rape cop,” Kenneth Moreno.
It’s a very powerful read, so FishbowlNY decided to catch up with Jake Dobkin, Gothamist’s Publisher and Co-Fouder, to talk with him about it and the site’s first foray into long form pieces. [Full disclosure: I have freelanced for Gothamist]
Gothamist got about 300 submissions when it put out the word that it was looking to publish something in the long form realm, but Dobkin said Kirkland’s easily stood out among the crowd.
The “-ist” empire of New York’s Gothamist.com now covers 13 cities, including the international outposts of Toronto, London and Shanghai. But rather than moving on to a far-flung gateway, long-time LAist.com editor Zach Behrens (pictured) is staying right here in Los Angeles.
Beginning January 1st, Behrens will head up the online community news and engagement efforts of by-then no-longer-PBS-affiliated KCET. He joins the station’s ranks on Monday, November 8th, to start preparing that outreach.
No one will ever accuse Jake Dobkin of shying away from controversy. Four months ago, the Gothamist.com founder sat on a panel for The Future of Local Media and declared his two year plan to include stealing stories from publications that put up pay walls, and putting them up on his site for free.
Yesterday, Dobkin took to Facebook to rip The New York Times a new one for copying his ideas, calling the local Cityroom blog “a fairly lazy and sleep-inducing ripoff of Gothamist,” and the Times‘ Local blog, “a recently closed ripoff of Brownstoner.com” (another New York-centric blog, owned by Jonathan Butler). What was the impetus for Dobkin taking credit for Cityroom? An email exchange with Times writer David Carr for an upcoming internal Times panel on Thursday.
Dobkin admits that the NYT still plays an important part in delivering news, but that its “slavish devotion to originality and old-fashioned reporting, they’ve lost their most important civic role,” and that hyper-local blogs like Gothamist, Brownstoner, and Curbed.com will never “run out of local content to pass through our curation machine.”
It will be interesting to see how Carr and the two other Times executives respond tomorrow to Dobkin’s claims tomorrow.
Read More: Jake Dobkin: From an Email to David Carr about The New York Times –Facebook
Lockhart Steele with Jake Dobkin, Jonathan Butler, and Mark Josephson
The topic this month was “Local Journalism: What’s Cool In Your Hood?” But, the only thing the panelists could seem to agree upon was the more posts, the better — even when it means the death of any original journalism.
Dobkin, who founded Gothamist in 2003, was definitely seeking to provoke his audience. When asked about the concept of pay walls for online publications, the young entrepreneur flippantly replied that this would be the best thing for his business. “Have them charge $20 for content! No one else will pay, but we will, and we will steal their stories,” he said. “That’s my two year plan.”
Behind the bluster, Dobkin has a point: Why pay for original content when blogs will aggregate it for their readers for free?