reacts to FCC report: We’re filling the gaps in local journalism

Romenesko Misc. | Business Insider
Shortly after the FCC released its report on the shortage of quality local journalism, AOL’s sent media reporters an e-mail about its “hyperlocal momentum in 827 communities around the country” and an invitation to interview Patch president Warren Webster and senior politics editor Howard Fineman about “how and why Patch is filling the void in local news around the country.” The e-mail was sent a day after a Patch salesperson complained to Nicholas Carlson about the site’s model. “I’ve never ever seen anything as bad as Patch, ever,” said the unnamed employee.

E-mail from Patch communications vice president Janine Iamunno

As you know, the FCC study just released indicates that local news reporting has waned to dangerously low levels…just as Patch continues its hyperlocal momentum in 827 communities around the country. Bottom line: Patch is filling the gaps in local journalism. In analyzing study findings for your readers, I hope you’ll consider the below facts on Patch’s growth, commitment to providing hyperlocal news coverage in a prolific and consistent way, and editorial accomplishments via its nearly 1,000 professional journalists. Patch president Warren Webster and Howard Fineman (senior politics editor, Huffington Post) are available to discuss how and why Patch is filling the void in local news around the country.

Patch spent its first year dedicated to building the platform and refining the experience; in addition to having recently announced the launch of our sites in Newark, 33 new sites in key primary states and Patch Latino, we are also focused on creating innovative new products to monetize Patch – more to come on that! In the meantime, as traditional local news coverage scales back, Patch is plowing ahead with up-to-the-minute local news and information in a way that no other outlet can provide, with our local editors on the ground in the towns they serve. Patch at a glance:

* Patch currently publishes nearly 5,000 articles per day across its 827 sites, and posts new content every 12 seconds.
* The comScore data just released for May shows a 33% UV increase for Patch, from 6.9m UVs to 9.2 UVs.
* We launched our Local Voices blogging platform on May 4. Between a week after that launch and today, we’ve gone from 3,994 to 5,920 bloggers – an increase of 48%, The number of blog posts has grown 234% (from 3,609 to 12,067). Our bloggers include mayors, state senators, congressmen, councilmen, trustees, county commissioners, activists, and other local influentials, in addition to any citizens who want to share their perspectives on issues and topics of interest in their towns.
* Patch has nearly 700,000 daily newsletter subscribers.
* Last week, Patch broke the story of Gov. Chris Christie’s use of a state-funded helicopter to attend his son’s high school baseball game; national outlets including the NYT, WSJ, CNN, NBC News, ABC News, Fox News picked up the story and credited Patch.
* Patch and Huffington Post are both benefiting from editorial collaborations, including using Patch’s local reporting to tell a national story on the death of bin Laden; GOP Rep. Rob Woodall’s response to a constituent asking about Medicare (“You want the government to take care of you, because your employer decided not to take care of you. My question is, ‘When do I decide I’m going to take care of me?’”); the local reaction to Weinergate; and of course the Gov. Christie flap.

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  • Pink

    Dan Berman, Oh really? The Patch sites in my region cover all of the government meetings I find important. They profile local people every week. When a new business opens the Patch sites have a story up pretty quickly. My local Patch site even had a damn good investigative piece that has basically destroyed a candidate’s campaign. The only thing that seems superficial are your comments. But hey, you must know what news is, right?

  • Pink

    Well, I like my local Patch and go to that site now over the local newspaper. You’re bitter for some reason and I wonder what that reason is. Or, you’re just an ignorant, angry jerk

  • Anonymous

    Patch is an electronic “Pennysaver”. Take it for what it is, and definitely for what it isn’t – journalism.

  • Dan Berman

    Sorry, but Patch and the hyperlocal news orgs are superficial. Nothing is filling the gap left by dying newspapers.

  • Anonymous

    Hey, where does that sales rep work now?  Bet she’s making more money working in a taco truck. 

    5,000 stories among 827 sites is about 6 “stories” per day.  Leave it to Patch brass to make a promotional statement with a string of lackluster factoids.

    Filling a gap in local news with what?

    Local journalism needs a tourniquete, a transfusion, an infusion, a resuscitation, and cpr. 

    All we got was this lousy Patch.

  • Anonymous

    Patch is like a cult. No doubt they will tweet and post that same comment over and over. The employees and freelancers post comments all over the various Patch FB sites, possibly to make it appear they are “liked” more than they are in reality. Local editors very inexperienced, spelling errors, fact errors, slipshod reporting, at least in the area where I live. A “story” can be an 8 line police note about a drunk kid in a parking lot. Why would anyone want to advertise on sites like that?