If you had to take a guess, how many states would you say Patch is currently covering? The answer is a solid 50%.
Granted, the revamped hyperlocal network is doing it with a small editorial staff of around 65. Which means for example that a staffer like Tim Darnell is responsible for all Atlanta Patch sites as well as some covering parts of the Georgia counties of DeKalb and Cobb. But help is on the way.
Atlanta is one of just over a dozen markets for which Patch is looking to hire more journalists. Others include Cleveland, Dallas, Miami and Santa Cruz.
In the job ad, Patch points to a recent Wall Street Journal article. What’s interesting about the Feb. 2, 2016 piece by Jack Marshall is that it reminds how a lot less coverage has been coming Patch’s way now that the news is good. Back in the days when Patch was struggling under full AOL ownership, it was a favorite target of some media critics. (AOL still owns a large minority stake.)
A glance at Patch these days highlights certain other components, including the arraying of the same content across different sites. But all in all, Hale Global is to be commended. Two and a half years after the mass layoffs, the site has survived, at a time when another similar operation, with similar traffic – examiner.com – just folded.
At the beginning of the summer, Patch Media chairman Charles Hale sent staff a state-of-hyperlocal-union summary. His note revealed that editor in chief Warren St. John had been promoted to executive editor-CEO and also included this perspective:
Thanks to the talent and passion of everyone at Patch, we’ve grown our audience in the last 12 months from 14M UVs to 20M-23M, depending on the month. We’ve done this the hard – some would say, the real – way: organically, without a single bought page view. Two-thirds of our monthly users are return users – an impressive statement about our users’ loyalty and a marked contrast from viral publishers who seem to get so much attention these days. Those loyal users also contribute to our remarkably stable and consistent traffic pattern, one that is less susceptible to the vicissitudes of virality and that in turn allows us to plan more confidently for the future.