Rich Hanley was my graduate adviser, and we remain friends. I respect his opinion a great deal, so this is a must read if you’re interested in what’s happening with Patch. And I can’t say I disagree with his assessments, honestly.
Some day I’ll write something about my experiences with Patch. And, for the record, they weren’t all awful or terrible. It was exhausting work, but it was fulfilling work when I could do things the way I saw fit. My freedom in covering my community and connecting with it was important to the success I had with Patch. On the whole Patch was pretty good to me.
Before Tim Armstrong launched Patch, jumped from Google to AOL, bought it from his own investment group and expanded it across the nation, he ignored early advice suggesting that the hyperlocal’s one-journalist-per-town model would not work.
Quinnipiac University journalism professor Rich Hanley says he was asked to help with a secret “beta test” of Patch in Hamden, Connecticut, prior to its later public launch in three New Jersey communities.
Patch paid Quinnipiac students to test whether one full-time journalist could provide all the content necessary to make a hyperlocal website about the community viable.
The answer they gave – “No” – was not what Patch wanted to hear. Hanley said that their test in Hamden found the town to be too diverse, too complicated, too time-consuming for one person to handle.
Patch pushed forward with the model anyway, but used the findings, at least initially, to shape the types of…
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