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What's up with Patch.com?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Tucsondriver, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. Tucsondriver

    Tucsondriver Member

    Anyone have a good scouting report on these guys? Is this just another coachesaid.com deal that's about to blow up, or is this a viable way to make a few bucks while I try to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. I know it's being run by AOL, but that's about all I know. A friend of mine did a few stories for them a few months ago and had an issue with payment. Could be a regional issue with a certain editor, I guess.
  2. CA_journo

    CA_journo Member

    I've been freelancing for them recently, and haven't had an issue. They pay through PayPal, though, which for some reason takes forever to go from money on PayPal to money in my bank account.
  3. terrier

    terrier Well-Known Member

    I'm about to find out...a reporter at my former shop just left for a Patch job. She said moving to the town is a given, and she went through four interviews before she got hired. She also said they want JOURNALISTS, not BLOGGERS. Hmmmm.
    Given that the weekly in her town is meh at best, her new job has potential.
    I'd be on it, except I live more than 10 miles away from the nearest town that has a Patch. And with strong weekly competition in my town, I'm not waiting for AOL to enter this room.
    Newport, R.I. is still up for grabs, BTW.
  4. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    I have met a couple of the editors in this area. Not sure if it will work, but right now the work is available, the freelance rates aren't bad and the money does come through (as long as you don't mind using PayPal.)

    They do want pictures along with stories, so that might be an issue for some.
  5. Shaggy

    Shaggy Guest

    I know a few people very respected and innovative in online media and they are very intrigued by the model and think it could do very well.

    And AOL is not afraid to say that it will invest long-term in online content, so I don't think this is a flash in the fire.

    Anyone have an idea what the local editors are paid?
  6. Tucsondriver

    Tucsondriver Member

    In addition to pay, I'd also be interested in knowing if the local editors and regional editors work at home, and if so how are their hours monitored.
  7. terrier

    terrier Well-Known Member

    When I was called up about one of the Rhode Island jobs (through my resume on Monster), the figure quoted to me was about $40,000. Were I not married and a homeowner, I'd have made the move out to Aquidneck Island.
    The editor I know went out to New York Tuesday for training, and is officially on the job. Not sure when her town goes up, though (I was told in late March/early April it would be up and running by late June). She actually happened to share a train ride home with the newly hired Patch editor in the next town, who is also a former reporter at my old shop (she left it about 10 years ago).
    You're probably working out of home, and from what somebody on another thread who had a California Patch editor buddy said, it's essentially being on call 24-7 (although you have a freelance budget). I'd say to my colleagues, expect a call if the Newport Daily News has something you don't.
  8. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    Major problem as far as I'm concerned.
  9. Shaggy

    Shaggy Guest

    Interesting that essentially a one-man shop with some freelancers is expected to have everything that a 20-plus person staff at an established newspaper would have.

    Obviously, that's the goal. But aren't growing pains expected?
  10. TheHacker

    TheHacker Member

    @ terrier, at first glance, some of their existing sites looks like little more than citizen journalism, so that bit about wanting journalists over bloggers is interesting. I do know of a few people with real journalistic experience that they've hired.

    What concerns me is the whole 24-7 idea. They seem to want a lean, mean staff, on call at all times to churn out stories, photos and video. The result will be like one-man shops anywhere. It'll be hard to do any one part of the job exceptionally well, and when you're trying to lure and retain fickle Web readers, that won't be good enough.

    We've all seen the results of the one-man shop in print ... even with freelancers it leaves something to be desired. You can add all the freelancers you want, but they have to be managed, their content edited, etc.
  11. Tucsondriver

    Tucsondriver Member

    It doesn't really make sense having an editor working 24-7. They'll be burning those guys out like every 2 months, and I don't think patch could afford the retraining. From my experience at locals, a key function of management types is going to mixers and being a public face for the paper, and I'd assume that's the same here. I'd think if it's a one-man show, they'd want you to compete in the sense of having a presence and letting people know you exist, as opposed to being the Podunk's publication of record. I'm not really sure what the point of calling the local editor at 3 a.m. about the big fire. Pick it up on the wire when you wake up, and follow it with a story the next day, I'd think would be a realistic expectation.
  12. Let me add what I know ...

    I was just offered an editor's position and plan on taking it. The max a local editor will make -- at least in Mass. -- is $45K, although the recruiter I spoke with said she doesn't know anyone who has received that. If you have a strong writing background, you'll get within 1 or 2K. Plus, there is a 7.5 percent bonus paid on March 31 (prorated if you haven't been there for a full year). The hope is they exceed expections and the bonus increases to 12 percent. And yes, I mean "hope." Not sure what that criteria is.

    Their benefits package is very aggressive, with multiple health options, matching 401K plans, three weeks vaca starting Day 1 you join patch, plus 10 paid holidays and 5 sick days.

    The benefits package has other perks, too, if you need day care, assistance in adoption, among others.

    It looks like the local editors who have been hired have an impressive background, so Patch isn't just "patching" their vacancies with cheap help.

    Hope this helps.
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