Patch.com laid off hundreds of employees Wednesday morning, without apparent warning, meaning that most of the network’s local websites will cease to produce news, local or otherwise. The decision was made by Hale Global, the “turnaround” company that bought Patch.com from AOL earlier this month.
Employees were stunned. “[W]e were all laid off this morning without being given the opportunity to let our readers know that we are gone,” one wrote in a social media posting Wednesday afternoon.
Just a few years ago, Patch.com looked like a promising competitor to local print newspapers. Building on a network of stringers and part-time professionals, it sought to apply Internet technology to hyper-local news markets. It failed to live up to its early commercial promise, however, and its formal end may be near.