Patch, a hyperlocal news website that had pages devoted to 900 cities nationally, yesterday laid off hundreds of its employees after an ownership change. A source told Jim Romenesko that 80% to 90% of Patch employees were fired. In the Bay Area, The Alamedan website reported that one editor, Autumn Johnson, is now overseeing 20 local Patches in the East Bay. The names of other local editors on Patch sites have been removed, presumably because they have been laid off.
Patch, the hyper local chain of websites owned by AOL, will be firing 200 to 550 of its employees and shutting down hundreds of its websites, according to TechCrunch, which is owned by AOL. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong is avoiding the word “layoffs” and calling those being shown the door “impacts.” Armstrong said he is hoping to salvage some of Patch’s websites by finding “partners” in their communities. Jim Romenesko said his sources say that up to 300 of Patch’s
“Sales have dropped dramatically so there’s a tremendous morale problem within Patch,” said one of the hyperlocal website’s sales people told BusinessInsider.com. “The editorial staff has been worked to death and they’ve already changed it over once, effectively. The same thing is going on the with sales force.” BusinessInsider didn’t name the sales rep who spoke out about Patch.com. The anonymous rep is also quoted as saying: • “When it gets down to paying the editors, paying the sales staff,
The website Street Fight, which covers the hyper local news industry, has obtained an email from Patch Editor-in-Chief Brian Farnham telling his local editors that they should increase the number of items posted each day on Patch’s local sites. Patch has 800 sites nationwide including 30 in the Bay Area. Each site is devoted to one city and has its own staff reporting local news. Farnham’s argument is that unique pageviews will increase if editors post more items. Patch currently requires