AOL’s Patch network has hired Brooklyn blogger Liena Zagare as its national community editor as part of an ongoing effort to strengthen community engagement with its 800 hyperlocal sites. Patch, which has said that it wants to become "a lot more social," has plans to add more aggregation and blogging tools, and recently announced that it would let community members contribute their own blog posts to the sites.
Zagare will be at the forefront of this increased community focus, and told PaidContent that, in her new role, she will be in charge of "everything that has to do with making people want to come back to the sites." She has already proved successful in the hyperlocal arena: She and her husband Ben Smith of Politico founded a popular network of neighborhood-oriented Brooklyn blogs—its largest, the Ditmas Park Blog, draws 40,000 unique visitors per month.
Zagare said that she's still negotiating what will happen to her own blogs, but she's not planning on turning them over to Patch right away.