According to Forbes, AOL will be laying off close to 300 employees of the Patch operation this week, with even more to follow in the weeks ahead. Forbes reports that 400 of the worst performing Patch sites will be closed, sold or merged. (God I hope this isn't one of them.)
This saddens me. When Patch first came on the scene, I was thrilled. The concept of local news and reporting with a social aspect coordinated through local editor was exciting. I embraced it and contributed when I could. I wasn't sure how the business model would work as far a generating income, but figured, hey, "The guy that runs AOL must know what he's doing." Now, I'm not so sure. At least when it comes to news.
Patch was created as a hyper-local news operation. Note the word, "News". Now, according to the Forbes article, when Creative Director Abel Lenz attempted to take a photo of the conference call announcing the layoffs, (Seems pretty news-worthy to me as a photographer) Armstrong reportedly said, "Abel, put that camera down. You’re fired.” The head of a news organization firing an employee for taking a picture at a news worthy event?
Maybe some of the problems Patch has encountered since its inception has to do with the guy at the top not really understanding the news business.
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