AOL’s Community-Specific News and Information Platform Plans to Hire More than 500 Professional Journalists in More Than 20 States by the End of 2010; New Editors Hired to Foster Rapid Growth
NEW YORK – AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL) announced the launch of Patch’s 100th site, Morristown Patch (http://morristown.patch.com). AOL also announced that Patch plans to rapidly expand to more than 500 U.S. neighborhoods in 20 states by the end of 2010. Additionally, with over 500 journalists still to be hired, Patch expects to be the largest hirer of full-time journalists in the U.S. this year.
“Today’s launch of our 100th site is a significant milestone for us. We began with just three Patch communities in February 2009, and have since made incredible progress toward fulfilling our core mission of providing comprehensive information and trusted, professional news coverage to towns and communities,” said Warren Webster, President, Patch Media. “We believe Patch is a revolutionary and efficient approach to producing relevant, quality local journalism at scale, and we couldn’t be more excited about expanding into hundreds of new communities across America this year.”
Every Patch site is run by one professional local editor who, along with freelancers, provides quality original news and information to its community. As part of its expansion, Patch continues to hire experienced professional journalists to fill important new roles in the organization.
In addition to being a destination for original content produced by professional journalists, Patch is a platform for community members to comment on stories, share their opinions, post photos and announcements, and add events to the community calendar.
Patch sites are already up and running in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Virginia. The 2010 expansion includes plans to extend Patch’s reach into more than a dozen new states including Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin.
Recent Patch hires
Patch has completed its hiring of senior editorial field management with four regionally based Editorial Directors. They report to Brian Farnham, Patch’s Editor-in-Chief.
Marcia Parker (San Ramon, California), Editorial Director of the West Coast Region, joins Patch from the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, where she served as Assistant Dean for six years. She is the founding Editor-in-Chief, of Tri Valley Magazine, former Director of Programming at AOL Small Business, and has worked at Crain’s New York Business, United Press International and the Center for Investigative Reporting.
Tim Windsor (Baltimore, Maryland), Editorial Director of the South Region, joins Patch from Johns Hopkins University, where he was Director of Digital Strategy. He is the former Vice President and General Manager of Baltimore Sun Interactive.
Anthony Duignan-Cabrera (Colts Neck, New Jersey), Editorial Director of the Northeast Region, joins Patch from CNNgo.com, where he was Editorial Director, charged with developing and driving the content strategy of CNN’s travel/culture/entertainment portal for the Southeast Asian region. He previously worked at Imaginova, ABC News and People magazine.
Sherry Skalko (Chicago, Illinois), Editorial Director of the Midwest Region, joins Patch from the Online News Association, where she served in several capacities, including training, membership, and development, and as editor of Journalists.org. She previously worked as an editor and content strategist at Tribune Interactive, SunSentinel.com and ESPN.com.
Additionally, Patch has recently hired 52 Regional Editors across 13 states.
“Our editorial staff members share the outstanding qualities that define all of Patch’s professional journalists across the country – a passion for journalism, top-notch credentials, and a commitment to redefining local coverage in a shifting media landscape,” said Brian Farnham, Patch’s Editor-in-Chief. “We are delighted to welcome these new directors and regional editors, along with the hundreds of local editors who will be joining us across the country this year.”
“All news is essentially local, and the pace at which Patch has grown shows that the demand for meaningful community news and information is alive and well,” said Phil Meyer, Professor Emeritus in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a member of the Patch Editorial Advisory Board. “Patch’s strength lies in the hyper-relevant nature of the information it provides to users in the communities and the robustness of its journalism. Patch has made a demonstrable leap toward filling a distinct gap in news and information at the hyper-local level.”
Morristown, NJ: 100th Patch site
Morristown, NJ is steeped in history and is characterized as “the military capital of the American Revolution” because of its strategic role in the war for independence from Great Britain. It’s also where Samuel F. B. Morse (1791-1872) developed the telegraph. Today, the downtown shopping area and business district are centered around Morristown Green, a former market square from Morristown’s colonial days.
A “Patch 100” logo was created in celebration of the Morristown site launch and is reflected on all 100 Patch sites today. In honor of the milestone, an estimated 400 Patch employees across the country will participate in a volunteer day in the communities in which they live and work. Patch will also donate advertising space to charitable organizations in its local communities. All of this is part of Patch’s ongoing “Give 5” volunteer program.
Patch is also working with the Morristown Clean Communities Program to “Adopt a Spot.” Patch employees will be responsible for caring for this spot, a playground near the center of town, throughout the year. A number of Patch employees will be volunteering at the playground today.
Patch is a local content and advertising platform. Patch Media Corporation currently operates 100 community-focused sites serving towns in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Virginia. Patch is making an important investment in local journalism by placing professional journalists in each town it serves to encourage community participation and provide original, trusted coverage for each individual town. In addition to professional journalists producing original content, Patch is a platform for community members to comment on stories, share their opinions, post photos and announcements, and add events to the community calendar. For more information about Patch, go to www.patch.com.
The 100 sites include: CALIFORNIA: Agoura Hills, Albany, Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Culver City, Danville-Alamo, Hermosa Beach, Lamorinda, Manhattan Beach, Mill Valley, Pleasanton, Redondo Beach, San Anselmo-Fairfax, San Rafael, San Ramon, Walnut Creek and West Hollywood; CONNECTICUT: Brookfield, Darien, Fairfield, Monroe, New Canaan, Newtown, Ridgefield, Southbury, Westport and Wilton; ILLINOIS: La Grange and Skokie; MARYLAND: College Park and Riverdale Park-University Park; MASSACHUSETTS: Arlington, Belmont, Brookline, Concord, Lexington, Marblehead, Melrose, Milton, Needham, Reading, Wellesley, Westwood and Winchester; NEW JERSEY: Basking Ridge, Bridgewater, Caldwells, Chatham, Cranford, Hoboken, Hopatcong, Livingston, Madison, Maplewood, Millburn-Short Hills, Montclair, Montville, Morristown, Ridgewood, Scotch Plains-Fanwood, South Orange, Springfield, Summit, West Orange, Westfield and Wyckoff; NEW YORK: Bayport-Blue Point, Bedford-Katonah, Bellmore, Bronxville-Eastchester, Chappaqua-Mount Kisco, Commack, Garden City, Glen Cove, Harrison, Hastings-Dobbs Ferry, Huntington, Larchmont-Mamaroneck, Massapequa, Merrick, New City, Nyack-Piermont, Patchogue, Port Chester, Port Washington, Rockville Centre, Rye, Sachem, Sayville, Scarsdale, Smithtown, Syosset, Tarrytown-Sleepy Hollow, Three Village, West Islip and Yorktown; RHODE ISLAND: Middletown, Newport and Portsmouth; and VIRGINIA: Reston.
AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL) is a leading global Web services company with an extensive suite of brands and offerings and a substantial worldwide audience. AOL’s business spans online content, products and services that the company offers to consumers, publishers and advertisers. AOL is focused on attracting and engaging consumers and providing valuable online advertising services on both AOL’s owned and operated properties and third-party websites. In addition, AOL operates one of the largest Internet subscription access services in the United States, which serves as a valuable distribution channel for AOL’s consumer offerings.