It looks as if AOL’s great experiment with hyperlocal news is ending… Patch.com fired most of its remaining editors yesterday, meaning that any remaining activity will be the kind of generic USA-Today newsy feature filler we’ve been seeing more and more.
If you don’t live in a small town or a region underserved by traditional media, you probably don’t even bother with Patch, and with fairly good reason. However, if you don’t have a true town newspaper and the regionals are either expensive or give minimal coverage to your town, Patch has been an essential element of news and information distribution.
I just tapped our local editor to see what’s up… and his email bounced. 'Nuf sed.
What is starting a slow burn in me is not that this effort failed, but that it was propped up, waiting for ad revenue to make AOL and its successors rich, just long enough to drive every alternative out of business. We’ve lost weekly and monthly local ragazines, at least one competing town social/news site, and any expectation that news and events will be reported with anyone but Patch. Now it’s imploded, and getting any kind of replacement here will take time and may never be entirely successful. (The old-guard microjournalism folks have all quit or retired.)
So fuck ya very much, AOL, for proving once again that you can’t spell AsshOLe without ya.