A journalist’s lessons from two years working for Patch, AOL’s hyperlocal web experiment. Editors started with autonomy and generous budgets, but they were always understaffed and found little support from sales teams:
In addition to the editorial and volunteer work, we fought to get our sites noticed—on and off the clock. The marketing dollars that we were given, if any, usually came with the understanding that we would be manning booths at community events, or taking the lead in finding sponsorship opportunities, like supporting the local hayride or Little League team.
It seemed I could control every aspect of my site’s being, but making it sustainable was out of my grasp. And for me, it was aggravating to know that my site was not profitable.
“The Constant Gardener.” — Sean Roach, Columbia Journalism Review
See also: “The Human Blog.” — Emily Nussbaum, New York magazine, Oct. 1, 2006
This is really good, and especially interesting to me because in the last couple years, many former co-workers and friends have taken jobs with Patch. It was hailed as the next great thing in journalism and appeared to have an unlimited source of cash. But I also kept hearing horror stories of overworked employees and high turnover.