Hundred Laid Off: AOL's Patch Drops 400 Local News Outlets

Hundred Laid Off: AOL's Patch Drops 400 Local News Outlets

Patch is the brainchild of AOL. The idea is to have hundreds of news outlets spread out across the country; separate bureaus, if you will, where the news reported in a hyper-local way in individual communities. People from inside and outside the area are hired to man the bureau and, naturally, the hope is for the outlet to become the local online newspaper and enjoy all the advertising revenue that comes with it.

There were rumors yesterday this nuke was going to drop.

TechCrunch says it has happened, and it is worse than what was rumored:

We reported yesterday that AOL’s hyper-local news service would lose hundreds of employees today, and now we have confirmation from a well-placed Patcher privy to the call that AOL CEO Tim Armstrong did indeed confirm to employees that hundreds would be laid off, with notifications of who will be let go coming throughout the coming week. …

400 Patch sites will be closed or partnered with outside sites over the coming week as part of the changes being made at Patch to try and turn things around, Armstrong explained on the call, but also reassured the Patch staff that the company is behind the initiative and told them not to “worry about what [they] read in the press,” calling it “bullshit.” Nonetheless, he encouraged any Patch non-believers still remaining at the company to get out now, emphasizing that there’s no room for equivocation in turning the effort around.

More here.

Though I am unfamiliar with Patch itself, the idea of one humongous corporation reporting on, and by extension, influencing, every community in America is the stuff of nightmares. No one wants to see anyone lose their job in Obama’s jobless “recovery,” but from the 30,000 foot perspective, this is probably a good thing.


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