AOL's Patch, a sizable investment in hyperlocal news and information, has been discussed at length by journalists and the tech industry at large. As a senior manager reporting into and collaborating cross-functionally with several members of the central organization, I had considerable exposure to executive decision-makers, and I formed many opinions as to how the venture could be successful.
While I cannot talk about my opinions or my experiences here, I applaud Ken Doctor's effort to discuss lessons learned in his piece for the Nieman Journalism Lab. One of my favorite passages, which preceded these lessons, reads as follows: Overall, Patches have proven out a truism: More news coverage is better than less news coverage. Patch has added content to the mix that its competitive dailies missed. Now many of those will be gone, along with all the uncountable coverage losses driven by the loss of those 17,000 largely local journalists.
It was certainly sad to see a number of talented journalists lose their jobs helping their communities feel more informed and connected. There's no doubt in my mind that the lessons learned from the Patch experiment will pave way for the next iteration, whether it is undertaken by the 'new' Patch or other players. – LN, August 2013