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Posts Tagged ‘Brian Farnham’

Patch Sites to Grow Under AOL Ownership

We’re not trying to be all-Huffington, all-the-time here, but such is the nature of media consolidation. There’s been a flurry of articles about the status of following the HuffPo/AOL acquisition. Arianna Huffington’s faith in the Patch concept is translating into a new phase of growth for the network of hyperlocal news sites, after some scaling back earlier this year.

Bloomberg reported today that AOL will hire up to 800 full-time employees for Patch as it adds sites in markets across the country. Sites are now run by just one full-time editor and get additional content from freelance contributors. The hirings will bulk up those one-person shops. David Brauer of reports that local freelance budgets are also up.

In an interview with Street Fight, Brian Farnham, Patch’s editor-in-chief (pictured), talks in depth about the hyperlocal business model and the future of his sites.

How is the AOL’s acquisition of Huffington Post affecting Patch?
We’re still figuring that out. It’s still early days. … We’ve had many active conversations with them so far, but the integration is an active machine with a lot of moving parts. I don’t have the crystal ball for how it’s all going to shake out. But I do know that in the conversations we’ve had with Arianna Huffington, she’s a huge Patch fan, definitely gets what we’re doing, loves the principle behind Patch … which is how AOL always felt too. Everyone realizes that Patch is trying to do something special and we don’t want to muddy those waters.

For even more about Patch, check out this “So What Do You Do?” Mediabistro interview with Farnham from November.

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How Patch Hires“The biggest obstacle to establishing as many sites as we have is hiring: there are a ton of smart, talented journalists out there, but obviously the process of finding, interviewing, testing, and on-boarding them is time-consuming and complicated. We were dead set on not sacrificing quality for speed, and I think we’ve built a phenomenal team of journalists at every experience level, from three years out of school to 25 years in the business.” — Patch editor-in-chief Brian Farnham on the venture’s rapid expansion…via FBNY

“After many phone interviews and a grueling writing test that lasted almost four hours, I was offered a job.” –PSU senior Jenna Ekdahl, who will start at Patch after graduating next week.

Patch Admits it Lifted Photo From Local Blogger

AOL Patch has admitted it was wrong in lifting a photo off a local blog in New Rochelle, NY. In an email to Talk of the Sound blogger Robert Cox, editor-in-chief Brian Farnham admitted the New Rochelle Patch local editor Allison Esposito misled her editors when questioned about the photo, and in fact lifted the picture.

This is even worse, considering the Hudson Valley regional editor for Patch Kathleen Ryan O’Connor wrote to MJD on Tuesday to say “Allison Esposito, did not plagiarize anything from Mr. Cox’s blog in any form.” She then added, “The objects in question — police generated mug shots — are publicly available and any similarity to Mr. Cox’s presentation of those public images is purely coincidental.”

That prompted Cox to respond via his blog, outlining all the steps he took when altering the pictures in photoshop. Farnham has now apologized to Cox and to clarify that O’Connor was misled. “The image she [Esposito] posted was, in fact, a download of the composite image you made from the police mug shots,” wrote Farnham in an email to Cox. “I sincerely apologize for this unattributed and unauthorized use of your image. We have extremely high standards of journalism here at Patch, and Allison did not live up to them. Her behavior was unacceptable and we are taking immediate disciplinary action. The image has already been removed from our story.”

“As this is all I had asked — remove it or give me credit — I consider the matter closed,” said Cox in an email to MJD.

You can read Mr. Farnham’s entire email to Cox after the jump.

Read more To Make First Foray Out Of Tri-State Area; Jobs For DC Reporters, the hyperlocal journalism venture Aol bought last year, is expanding like gangbusters.

In June of last year, Patch had presence in three New Jersey towns. Now there are 15 New Jersey Patches, eleven in New York, and five in Connecticut. Each site is run by one local, on-the-ground, do-it-all reporter—they blog, report, shoot pictures and video, and Tweet.

We’ve just confirmed with Patch editor-in-chief Brian Farnham that the site is soon expanding to the DC area.

If you’re looking for a reporting job in the DC area (or are willing to relocate), send a note to If you’re curious about the type of people Patch hires, you can’t go wrong with Silicon Alley Insider’s roundup of current Patch editors. Most of them are young, but have impressive resumes. We have heard rumors—just rumors, mind you—that the starting salary for a Patch reporter is around $40k..not bad for a startup.