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Debate erupts over Patch working conditions

Joe Pompeo of BusinessInsider.com has a couple of interesting columns (Aug. 5 and Aug. 6) about whether the new chain of AOL “hyper local” Patch websites are sweatshops. Patch hires reporters/editors who cover news in one specific community, and the job can be pretty demanding. The pay is about $40,000 a year, according to Pompeo.

Patch started on the East Coast, but this year has opened sites serving Albany, Danville, Mill Valley, Pleasanton, San Anselmo-Fairfax, San Rafael, San Ramon and Walnut Creek. A San Bruno site is on the way, according to Patch’s index page.

Pompeo quotes a letter from an anonymous Patch editor:

Pompeo apparently got a lot of responses from Patch editors who disputed the sweatshop allegations, such as this one from one in New Jersey named Mary Mann.

And another Patch editor wrote to Pompeo to say:

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