The State of the News Media 2011: AOL News Before The Huffington Post

The State of the News Media 2011, an annual report from the Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Pew Internet & American Life Project, examined AOL‘s investment in news prior to its $315 million agreement to acquire The Huffington Post.

According to the report’s findings, prior to the HuffPost acquisition, AOL added 900 employees during the summer of 2010, with about one-half of them going to its Patch hyperlocal news network.

According to the PEJ News Coverage Index, 42 percent of top stories on AOL News in 2010 were written by AOL staff, up sharply from 7 percent in 2009.

As for Patch — currently in around 800 towns, with a goal of topping 1,000 by the end of 2011 — AOL spent $50 million in 2009 alone. According to comScore, Patch had 3 million unique visitors in December 2010, about 80 times its audience of December 2009.

As for its new acquisition, not factoring in hires announced Monday or last week, most of HuffPost’s staff was made up of curators and editors, and not content creators, with just four out of 60 staffers in 2009 named as reporters, and that number at around 18 in 2010.