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Posts Tagged ‘Patch’

The New Face of Patch: Tammy

In a brief but excellent item about the current post-AOL Patch landscape, Talking New Media’s D.B. Hebbard cites the following sad state of Midwestern affairs:

Several Patch sites appear to have become largely controlled by a local business that uses the site to promote their services. One Wisconsin site, for instance, only contains stories from someone labeled as “Tammy” who posts “opinion” pieces that may, or may not, actually be paid posts – it’s hard to tell.

We made the effort to track down Tammy’s work. What’s amazing is that Hale Global isn’t even trying to disguise the bot-like behavior of this contributor. And we’re betting that biography won’t be filled out soon.

TammyOakParkPatchBio

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A Consolidation of Brooklyn Hyper-Local

BensonhurstBeanBannerThis particular media merger did not exactly make headlines. But you can bet any and all interested in the future of hyper-local will be paying close attention.

From metropolitan news reporter Vivian Yee‘s article in the New York Times:

Last week, [Ned] Berke merged Sheepshead Bites and its sister site, Bensonhurst Bean, into Corner Media, a network of neighborhood blogs run by Liena Zagare that will now reach a combined 250,000 readers every month. Zagare and Berke, who is a senior editor as well as an associate publisher of the network, say their approach — intensely local, intimate and community-based, with a heart — is the future of hyper-local journalism, a business that industry watchers have long forecast as the future of journalism itself.

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Former Patch Editor Has a Message for Tim Armstrong

Leslie Yager, who edited Patch sites in Norwalk and Wilton, CT prior to being laid off in January, met the head of Patch only once.

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Now that she has started her own hyper-local site in the Connecticut town where Armstrong lives, she has this to say about her ex-boss and fellow Greenwich resident, via a Q&A with Street Fight Magazine:

“I learned so much from the Patch job and enjoyed it. I met Tim Armstrong once, back when I was in charge of recruiting bloggers for user-generated-content. He was affable and I left the meeting feeling appreciated.”

“If he has taken a peek at my site, I hope he knows it’s modeled on his original vision: Nimble, in-the-moment coverage by reporters who live in the town where they report news.”

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Hyperlocal Network HamletHub Adds Another

In the shadow of the rise and fall of Patch, another hyperlocal network has been doing it in a manner that the AOL venture likely wishes – in retrospect – that it had too. Namely, growing via baby steps rather than busting out quickly across the country to satisfy a parent-company spreadsheet.

HamletHubsMap

HamletHub, launched in 2010, is now approaching two dozen sites. The latest, serving Croton-on-Hudson in New York, looks great and counts as its editor longtime resident Ken Sargeant:

Ken has lived in Croton with his family since 1991. He has played an active role in local environmental and cultural organizations throughout that time. A visual arts professional with a background in commercial photography, as well as documentary film, Ken is the proprietor of RiverLiver Productions, and co-Founder of the Harlem Cultural Archives, a New York State chartered historical society.

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Hyperlocal Network HamletHub Expands from Connecticut to New York

HamletHubLogoTo be the opposite of Patch or not to be the opposite of Patch… That is the perception facing all other hyperlocal U.S. networks.

HamletHub, winner of Connecticut Press Awards in 2012 and 2013, is expanding into New York state. Today, founder Kerry Anne Ducey officially welcomed Scarsdale to the HamletHub fold:

We are proud to announce that Scarsdale resident Lauren Myers Mintzer has agreed to become the editor of Scarsdale HamletHub. According to Ducey, establishing sites in New York was a natural next-step for the CT-based company.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Flipboard Buys Zite | BBC3 to Go Online-Only | Egypt Tries AJ Staff

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CNN Sells Zite to Flipboard (CNNMoney)
CNN has sold its news reader app, Zite, to Flipboard, a social magazine application. As part of the deal, Flipboard has also teamed up with CNN to launch custom magazines for CNN shows anchored by Fareed Zakaria, Jake Tapper and John King. The deal could be valued as high as $60 million over time, taking into account future advertising revenue, said a source familiar with the deal. TVNewser The sale occurred less than three years after CNN acquired Zite for $20 million. CNN and Flipboard’s partnership will allow CNN to expand its mobile reach and take advantage of Flipboard’s technology and mobile sales strategy. Re/code Zite itself will shut down, but CNN says most of its 20 employees will go to work for Flipboard. Zite CEO Mark Johnson will not be joining them. Forbes / Jeff Bercovici The deal merges two apps that let users aggregate news stories from all over into a single magazine-like experience. Of the two, Flipboard has been considerably more successful: It’s currently ranked No. 5 among free iPad news apps in Apple’s App Store, while Zite is No. 39. Flipboard will absorb the machine-learning technology that Zite uses to personalize news feeds for its users. Mashable The move also divests CNN of one of its most high-profile acquisitions while putting it in front of Flipboard’s users, which according to Johnson number more than 100 million.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Hundreds Fired at Patch | SOTU Ratings Down | WaPo Expanding

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Report: Hundreds of Patch Employees Laid Off (JimRomenesko.com)
I’m told that hundreds — two tipsters claim two-thirds of the editorial staff — have been laid off by Patch’s new owner, Hale Global. Patch senior vice president/revenue Jim Lipuma has left the company. He wrote on his blog Wednesday: “I am unemployed. Long and short of it, I chose ‘Happiness.’ Now, I won’t go into details, as I have nothing but love for my organization and the people in it. It was an amazing journey, but today it ends.” FishbowlNY In a conference call from Leigh Zarelli Lewis, Patch’s COO, the news was laid out in blunt terms. Here’s how it went, according to a transcript: “Hale Global has decided which Patch employees will receive an offer of employment to move forward in accordance with their vision for Patch and which will not. Unfortunately, your role has been eliminated and you will no longer have a role at Patch and (Wednesday) will be your last day of employment with the company.” NYT Later in the morning, there was a conference call for employees who were staying on. Patch had roughly 450 employees before the layoffs Wednesday. In the call, remaining employees, including journalists as well as advertising sales employees and engineers, were told that all 900 Patch sites would remain open. Gawker Patch never made money. Even after it was bought by AOL in 2009, it didn’t make money. When AOL finally realized it was never going to make money, it first shuttered a bunch of Patch sites and then decided to get rid of it entirely. NY Post The move is a black eye for AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, who had co-founded the site as a side venture when he was still a Google executive and then acquired the site for AOL for a reported $7 million in 2009 shortly after he became its CEO. Poynter / MediaWire People who worked for Patch worked from home, on their own, but they had each other to reach out to, former Patch editor Anthony Leone told Poynter via phone. That network has held up through the rounds of layoffs. “We’re still helping each other out,” he said. “Most of the people there have never met face to face at all.”

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New Patch Owner Cuts Hundreds of Staffers

PatchLogoHale Global, the company that bought Patch from AOL in January, is slimming down operations. Jim Romenesko reports that the company has fired “hundreds” (about two thirds of staffers) from Patch. And the way they did it wasn’t exactly pretty.

In a conference call from Leigh Zarelli Lewis, Patch’s COO, the news was laid out in blunt terms. Here’s how it went, according to a transcript:

Hale Global has decided which Patch employees will receive an offer of employment to move forward in accordance with their vision for Patch and which will not. Unfortunately, your role has been eliminated and you will no longer have a role at Patch and today will be your last day of employment with the company. …Thank you again and best of luck.

We like how she added “best of luck.”

F*ck off everyone who got paid little for lots of work! But uh, best of luck too.

Connecticut Patch Sites Desperately Seek Lunch

This is just a guess, but tweeting the exact same thing from multiple accounts is probably not the best way to do hyper local journalism.

As you can see, the tweet “It’s lunch time! What’s the best place to get something good in town for under $10?” was sent out by several Connecticut Patch sites simultaneously. The local news site has had plenty of critics, and this will likely only fuel their fire.

Please note that we’re not attacking the question. Locating an affordable, high quality lunch spot is extremely important. Especially, we presume, in Connecticut.

[h/t: Jim Welch]

Morning Media Newsfeed: AOL Sells Patch | Yahoo! COO Out | News Corp. Ices Pensions

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AOL Unloads Controlling Interest in Patch (Capital New York)
AOL all but unloaded its embattled local news network Patch to investment firm Hale Global on Wednesday. Patch will act as a new limited liability company majority owned and operated by Hale. The hyper-local network was a pet project of AOL CEO Tim Armstrong. It hired hundreds of reporters and ad sales staff in a bid for a local advertising market that has yet to materialize, eventually leading Armstrong to promise AOL investors that it would break even by the end of 2013. That did not happen, and the company began to seek buyers. NYT Hale Global, an investment company that specializes in turning around troubled companies through technological innovation, would essentially take over the operation, AOL said. Hale’s intention for now, the companies said, is to keep operating all of Patch’s 900 sites. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Forbes / Jeff Bercovici On its bare-bones website, Hale Global describes itself this way: “We specialize in creating value operationally in businesses facing strategic, financial, product and other challenges. In addition to capital, we bring to these troubled situations extensive turnaround skills, deep operational benches, in-house software and mobile development teams, extreme transactional speed and certainty of close.” Re/code In 2012, Patch lost $35 million; by the end of last month, it was still losing money. Now it’s someone else’s problem. TechCrunch Despite whatever downsizing may have taken place, Patch is still large, possibly too unwieldy to steer into better waters as it is today. But on top of that, it’s seeing decent traffic of 16 million people monthly according to figures from comScore. So now, the plan going forward will be to focus on a few changes to convert some of that traffic into revenues: new technology for community participation; more mobile-first and social experiences; better advertising tools and more geo-targeting for ad products, according to AOL’s announcement.

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