TBD's 'Patch Awesomeness Index' rates all 51 D.C.-area sites


News editor Ryan Kearney came up with the idea of ranking the dozens of Washington, D.C.-area Patch sites and coordinated the four-journalist project. "We throw out a lot of ideas throughout the day, most of which are good for an obnoxious newsroom laugh and nothing more," he says in an email. "Somehow this one stuck. I think we can all agree, though, that a scientifically rigorous evaluation of Patch was long overdue. Also, I wanted to beat Erik Wemple to it."

The main challenge was reading Patch for countless hours. That is not a dig at Patch. Any site becomes tiresome after a while, but there's the added problem of irrelevance. No disrespect to the people of Lake Ridge–Occoquan, but I am not particularly interested in your parental nightmares — unless I'm creating the Patch Awesomeness Index (PAI), in which case I must pretend to be an engaged member of that community. All in the name of science.

TBD.com A&E editor Andrew Beaujon, who wrote the mathematical equation "to determine the sites' respective awesomeness," says Patch's PR person "was chagrined by the piece" and wouldn't let TBD do interviews with editors of the top-ranked sites. They are:

1. Fredericksburg Patch:

"Editor Mike Theis' coverage of the Spotsylvania sheriff's race is outstanding, and the comments boards rock."

2. Ashburn Patch

"Editor Dusty Smith is the rare Patch editor who will stick it to someone."

3. Georgetown Patch

"Shaun Courtney has the joint cased, Patch-wise. She covers the stuffing out of real estate, retail, and neighborhood controversies. If I lived in Georgetown, I'd read this every day."

The Manassas Patch lands on the bottom of the heap. ("A little local sports, a little politics, a little crime, but not much depth on any of it.") I emailed the #1 and #51 editors for their reactions, but didn't get a response. However, Patch VP/Communications Janine Iamunno did send me her thoughts on the "Awesomeness" rankings:

TBD is entitled to their own opinion, of course, just as we're entitled to disagree with it. We're incredibly proud of the work our Patch editors are doing in the DC region and in our 850+ communities./continues

From Patch picking up 18 awards at the San Diego Press Club awards earlier this week to the in-depth reporting our Baltimore-area Patch editor Bryan Sears did to uncover a county councilman's violation of the county charter, it's clear Patch is making an impact coast to coast.

We've consistently featured remarkable journalism across our sites, from Irene coverage to partnering with a non-profit in CA to report on inadequate earthquake preparedness to enterprise reporting like the examples below. We've got unbelievably talented journalists at Patch, which (as TBD itself acknowledged) gets very little media attention.

  • Jim Romenesko

    From 1999 to 2011, Jim Romenesko maintained the Romenesko page for the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based non-profit school for journalists. Poynter hired him in August of 1999, after seeing his MediaGossip.com, a hobby site he started in May of 1999.


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