Patch Regional Editor Patrick Lee on Why He Jumped to Public Radio Station KPCC

On Wednesday, July 11, Patrick Lee clocked his last official day as regional editor of Patch sites in northeast LA and the San Gabriel Valley. After a short, well-deserved break, he will slide over to KPCC/Southern California Public Radio on Monday, July 23 as managing editor, digital.

“It was too good an opportunity to pass up,” Lee tells FishbowlLA via telephone. “I’m very excited about what I’ve heard KPCC and SCPR are trying to accomplish. I think they have some great ideas and some really great people. There’s a lot of opportunity there to make a premier digital Web experience for the Southern California community. It can be a destination point for people interested in engaging community information, and I want to be a part of that.”

Althoug Lee has had general discussions with SCPR VP, content Russ Stanton and executive editor Melanie Sill, he’s not sure until he starts exactly what the make-up of his team will be. But as someone who dealt with an amorphous and occasionally redefined Patch purview, he’s ready to hit the ground running (Lee will report to Sill).

Lee is leaving Patch on the heels of some triumphant recognition at the LA Press Club’s recent 2012 Southern California Journalism Awards. His network of sites won the category of Online News for “Breaking News Coverage of San Gabriel Valley Storm, Nov. 30.” Noted the judges’ panel: ‘ covered a devastating windstorm that struck San Gabriel Valley communities by marshaling all the editors of its San Gabriel and Northeast Los Angeles editions. Residents could access all the storm news they needed on Patch’s hyperlocal sites.’

“All of our sites immediately jumped on that story and blanketed coverage in a way that was extremely useful to people in the various communities,” Lee recalls. “We had breaking news coverage of damage, power outages, official response, lack of response… We had videos, we had photo galleries. We were on the street like no else was, over the course of one to two weeks.”

“I was very proud of the team, which came together under very dire circumstances in some cases,” he adds. “Some of my local editors had lost power themselves, and yet that did not stop them. They relocated to Starbucks, and so on.”

During his pre-Patch years, Lee was a regular attendee at Comic-Con. He marvels today at how the event has become dominated by the small screen. “This is the first year that TV programs have taken over Hall H in a big way. That would never have happened a couple of years ago.”

Meanwhile, Sill separately told us that she is “delighted Patrick is joining us and looks forward to seeing him bring his considerable strengths to bear at KPCC.” Congrats to this well-liked, SoCal journalism vet.