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Legitimate Patch.com question

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by ejhayes737, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. ejhayes737

    ejhayes737 Member

    Hey SJ gang. I was referred to the board awhile back and have found some good stuff on here. I was even able to land a nice stringer assignment for Tuscaloosa News thanks to the board. However, I'd like to know why so many on here are anti-Patch.com. I'm an aspiring journalist and I cover high school sports for Patch sites in the Washington DC metro area. I also freelance for a local weekly. I will admit that some of the local Patch editors are sloppy and do allow things to slip through the cracks, but some are very observant and do their job properly.

    As I said earlier, this is an entirely new arena for me. I'm just looking to refine my writing while accumulating strong clips in the process. I'd like to know why some of the seasoned journalists around here don't like Patch. Thanks in advance.

  2. rpmmutant

    rpmmutant Member

    I write for the Patch sites in Southern California. My experiences have all been good. There are some people on this site who are critical of everything, especially new technology and new ideas. I have used the Patch sites to try some new ideas, create videos with stories, link to related topics on other sites, create photo galleries and interactive packages. It has made me a more marketable freelance journalist.
    The Patch sites pay better than newspapers and allow me to showcase some of the skills I have developed in the digital media world. I haven't written an actual newspaper story in more than a year and I don't know that I want to ever again.
  3. podunk press

    podunk press Active Member

    This ought to be fun.
  4. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I don't think that for many, it's as much a matter of being "anti-Patch" as wondering whether they can sustain this business model and make enough money off it to keep it going.

    From my standpoint, anything that's getting young reporters and editors experience -- and money -- is a good thing. But AOL has such a history of fits and starts and recalibrating, there's some skepticism here that's probably not misplaced.
  5. terrier

    terrier Well-Known Member

    Patch does pay well, and you can do many cool things with it. And the people I know who've left Patch have gotten good jobs out of it - competent Patch LEs won't have much trouble finding other jobs if the enterprise collapses.
    That said, I've learned from a recent conversation with one of the older Patch editors (yes, I know at least three in their 50s), a definite hiring preference for the younger has evolved, along with the attitude in New York that anyone over 30 isn't comfortable with the technology or social media. Some of the young'uns are damned good, and others wouldn't know a story if it hit them in the face.
    Some of the companywide policies have me scratching my head, too, but I don't share the animosity toward it that many people here do.
  6. ejhayes737

    ejhayes737 Member

    Thanks for the response. I'm with you. I've also been able to incorporate video into my articles and it's been a great vehicle. I've mostly had good experiences with the local editors.
  7. ejhayes737

    ejhayes737 Member

    That's fair. I, like many, don't know what the future beholds for Patch as a whole. I just know that it gives me a great opportunity to write and offers plenty of experience for those in the same position as me.
  8. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Well, the quality is very uneven around here.

    Initially, I was a bit resentful (and, I'll admit, fearful) of the way they cherry-picked rich towns in our circulation area, seemingly to pick off our advertisers at minimal expense. I mean, my newspaper is a for-profit venture (or at least is intended to be one), but we don't redline towns that way -- we cover some of them because it is our civic duty to serve the less-advantaged towns, too. The revenue from the wealthy towns helps fund our watchdog journalism in the less-advantaged municipalities. Newspapers may be more about the money than ever before, but we are still not all about the money.

    Now, though, I see that Patch really isn't getting significant advertising here, and has branched out in a less mercinary way. I applaud its expansion into less affluent areas, but I don't think this is likely to help them survive.

    I'm not sure about the reporters, but I sit across the aisle from the metro editors and I have not yet heard one them exclaim: "That fucking Patch! Beat us again! Let's follow up on this!"
  9. mrbigles01

    mrbigles01 Member

    My problem with Patch simply has to do with how they value writing. The amount they pay for freelancing is insulting. I say that in the full understanding that every similar local place pays the same. But in my experience with them (in the Boston area) they weren't even paying enough to cover my gas to and from the game.

    As a result of that incredibly crap pay, they have very few employees who are any good at this. That leads to spotty reporting and editing. You get what you pay for (see: Report, Bleacher) and they pay for nothing . . .

    I have also found the editors I interacted with to be both rude and lacking in basic journalistic knowledge but that is definitely a case by case thing and not systemic (I hope).

    If it's working for you, getting clips and whatnot, more power to you. But all I see is a garbage website that devalues what we all do by purporting to be "journalism."

    I care a lot about what I do, and it makes me irrationally angry when I see it done poorly.
  10. Clerk Typist

    Clerk Typist Guest

    It's happened at our place. Then again, we've lost 84 percent of our reporting staff due to layoffs over the last five years, and some of them are at Patch.
  11. Big Buckin' agate_monkey

    Big Buckin' agate_monkey Active Member

    I know I'm late to this party, but this is absurd. I making $75 for fewer words and a few pics compared to the local newspaper paying $50.
  12. J-School Blue

    J-School Blue Member

    Most of the criticism I've seen of Patch runs more along the lines of "This business model appears to be unsustainable and the bottom seems destined fall out from under this soon" than anything else. If you're freelancing for a decent operation (and the quality varies wildly) it strikes me as a decent way to generate clips and show that you can do online stuff.
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