AOL Patch Finds A Way To Get Lots Of Free Content For Its Overworked Editors


It looks like AOL‘s hyperlocal news network, Patch, is taking a cue from The New York Times in teaming up with journalism schools.

And they even have a cute little name for the project: PatchU, “a new network of partnerships between local Patch online publications and leading journalism schools, colleges and universities to help prepare the next generation of journalists for successful careers,” according to a press release. (Or, depending on how you look at it, a way to help Patch get lots of free content on top of what its overworked editors are already churning out.)

“Our continuing rapid growth gives us an incredible opportunity to provide cutting edge, real-world experience in various communities across the country to students who will become tomorrow’s editors and reporters, at Patch and elsewhere,” Patch Media president Warren Webster said in a statement. 

Thirteen j-schools are already participating, including top programs like Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, the Missouri School of Journalism and the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

Columbia’s journalism school is not listed as one of the partners, nor is New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, which just launched its East Village Local blog in collaboration with The New York Times. But CUNY’s j-school is one of the participating schools, which is interesting since CUNY has a hyperlocal partnership with The Times, as well. It also shows Patch expanding out of the predominantly suburban sphere it launched in and into major metropolitan areas.

If there’s one group of people who must be ecstatic about this news, it’s j-school career services counselors. AOL plans to launch hundreds of new Patch websites before the end of the year and become the largest hirer of full-time journalists in the U.S. Now they’ll have a steady supply of eager young reporters who are willing to work like crazy for not all that much money to help them realise that goal.

Meet some of the original fresh-faced Patch editors >>

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