Media reporter Jim Romenesko hears that local news network Patch’s new owners, Hale Global, fired as much as two-thirds of the company’s editorial staff today.
We are hearing the same thing.
Patch used to be owned by AOL. It was actually cofounded by AOL Tim Armstrong. He invested hundreds of millions of dollars into over several years. Patch never proved to a viable business. It got to the point where Armstrong almost lost his job over it. This month, AOL reduced its stake in Patch to a minority holding.
A source familiar with Hale’s plans for Patch says the network will shrink to 250 sites from nearly 1,000. In Connecticut, for example, Patch’s staff has been reduced from ~100 to ~5. The This source says the 750 or so zombie sites will aggregate regional news and try to partner with local bloggers.
This source says “Patch as a lcoal news reporting entity? They put a bullet in its head today.”