Patch Blog

Patch on Instagram: a glimpse into your town

Patch is now on Instagram at @PatchGlimpses, where we showcase compelling photos from Patch towns across the country.

What's life like in your town? Give us a glimpse into it by posting a photo to Instagram and tagging @PatchGlimpses.

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Not Just a Casual Observer: Documenting the Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

About 40-some years ago, two journalists from the Des Moines Register in Iowa set out on a mission to prove that their state was beautiful-or maybe they just wanted to get out of the office for a few days. Either way, John Karras and Donald Kaul set out to bike across the entire state of Iowa in a week, documenting what they saw along the 410-mile ride. Register readers accompanied them on their journey, and thus, RAGBRAI-or the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa-was born.

Today, the ride has grown to an international affair, with tens of thousands of bikers coming from all over the world (America's own Lance Armstrong included) to tackle the length of the state in under six days.

"All you see for a week is bikes," said California Patch editor Brad Kava, who flew out to bike RAGBRAI for the 18th time.

"Anyone who's been in Iowa knows what RAGBRAI is," Patch regional editor Brian Morelli tells me over the phone.

Brian, who participated in the bike ride for the seventh time last week, decided to follow in the footsteps of the Register journalists and blog about what he saw along the way for Iowa Patches. From July 20th through the 28th, Brian documented sights, sounds, and observations from the ride by posting on Patch solely via his mobile phone.

"I was trying to document the ride for our readers and use it as an opportunity to tell them about Patch, because people from around the country come to this thing," said Brian. "I've done RAGBRAI in the past, but before you'd have to stop and get out your laptop. This year, I was able to create photo galleries, videos and vignettes on the fly, and that made it more enjoyable for me and people following the blog."

Brian certainly saw some sights along the way, including a barber offering straight razor shaves for scraggly bikers, a pot-bellied man challenging riders to leave the biggest hand mark by slapping his belly, and a town throwing a party with a full-on wrestling match.

RAGBRAI has become the state of Iowa's biggest event of the year, a time when people come together in towns along the route to aid and house the bikers and throw parties to celebrate the annual journey.

"It's one of the things that Iowa takes a lot of pride in," said Brian. "One of the things people around the country know Iowa for."

Head over to Brian's RAGBRAI blog to learn more about this quirky Iowan tradition and how Patch became a part of it in 2013 in a whole new way.

Continue reading Not Just a Casual Observer: Documenting the Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

California Patch Sites Win at OC Press Club Awards

Patch sites in Southern California were honored with five awards at the Orange County Press Club this week.

Two local bloggers from Mission Viejo Patch swept the "Best News/Political Blog" category. Shripathi Kamath, blogger and and resident of Mission Viejo since 1997, took home first place for his contemplative post on the life of Alan Turing. The post reflects on the magnitude of Turing's accomplishments as the father of modern computing and how those accomplishments were diminished because he was openly gay. Kamath's writing strikes the perfect balance of historical frankness and modern advocacy as he mourns Turing's untimely death and highlights discoveries in the field of computer science.

Patch Blogger Dan Avery took home second place in the category for his chilling post on the investigation of University of California at Irvine Professor Rainer Reinscheid, who wrote down violent fantasies following the death of his son. Dan reflected on the public's rush to declare Reinscheid guilty and cited his own experience with writing down violent fantasies after the tragic murders of his sister and niece years before.

In addition to the Mission Viejo bloggers, Rancho Santa Margarita Patch Local Editor Martin Henderson, who was recently recognized as Online Journalist of the Year by the L.A. Press Club, took third place for "Best Feature Story" for his article on the tragic suicide of a local man who jumped off of a bridge.

In other categories, Los Alamitos-Seal Beach Patch contributor John Crandall won third place for Best News Story for his piece on the first day of school in Los Alamitos. Also on Los Alamitos-Seal Beach Patch, users Johnny Newnes and Nicole Mynott, who blog under the joint name Confessions of Two College Foodies, shared the third place prize for Best Food Blog for their regular posts on recipes and local food reviews.

From all of us at Patch, a big congratulations to the winners for their phenomenal work!

Continue reading California Patch Sites Win at OC Press Club Awards

Patch Editor Wins Award from Atlanta Association of Black Journalists

Cascade Patch (Ga.) Local Editor Marc Richardson was recently recognized by the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists for his award-winning work in the Digital Media Presentation category.

Among 18 other award recipients ranging across broadcast, cable, print, and online media for Pioneer Black Journalist, Marc won for his thorough coverage of a local church's initiative to mobilize black voters. Marc covered the launch of the initiative at the church with comprehensive reporting, including photos and video footage of the reverend's key speech of the night.

Marc has deep roots in the community as a lifetime resident of Atlanta, and continues to provide the community with first-rate hyperlocal coverage. As Marc says on his Patch profile page, "I just love our community and believe in it deeply!"

Continue reading Patch Editor Wins Award from Atlanta Association of Black Journalists

Patchers Volunteer Across the Country for Give 5 Week

This week Patchers across the country joined Give 5, Patch's program where employees are encouraged to take time during their workday and give back to their communities through volunteer work. This year, the response to the call was overwhelming and inspiring in nature and magnitude. Patchers across the country shared their experiences on Patch and social media, using the hashtag #Give5 to mark their stories. Below is a condensed version of our #Give5 page, which tracks and shares all of the inspiring stories cropping up from Patchers from coast to coast. Take a look at some below!

Continue reading Patchers Volunteer Across the Country for Give 5 Week

San Diego Patch Sites Take Home Three Journalism Awards

Reporters from both La Mesa Patch and Lemon Grove Patch in San Diego, Calif., took home awards at the region's annual Society of Professional Journalists' banquet last week. Patch grabbed three first place honors, as well as an honorable mention.

Associate Regional Editor Ken Stone (right) won first place in the Daily Features category for his storyabout a new widow, a mother who lost her son to heroin, and their unlikely bond. Ken also took home an honorable mention in the Daily Political/Government category for his piece on local political advertising.

Helen Ofield, a columnist for Lemon Grove Patch, won first place for her column, The Way We Were, which takes a look at archives and discusses old historic news from the town of Lemon Grove.

This photo essay by Chris Stone (right), which won first place in the Online category, serves as a companion to a story about Olympic athletes who hail from Patch towns.

The San Diego SPJ Awards are the latest in a series of honors for Patch, so a big congratulations to those in California as well as those Patchers who have and continue to win for their outstanding work in local journalism!

Continue reading San Diego Patch Sites Take Home Three Journalism Awards

A Chart is Worth a Thousand Words

Sometimes when reading stories that involve a lot of statistics, it can be difficult to navigate the murky pool of numbers in which the real story lies. We become bogged down in percentages and ratios, and in our frustration (or at least in mine), close that particular tab.

But thanks to the ceaseless wonders of technological development, our jobs as readers are rendered easy with infographics and data visualizations that help us understand the story.

Check out these visualizations created by Marion Patch Editor Brian Morelli with data from the Iowa Department of Public Health on same-sex marriage licenses in the third state to legalize it.

Brian also created an interactive Google map that shows the density of same-sex marriage licenses in a population by county. Head on over to the article on Marion Patch to see the breakdown and read the full story. Who doesn't love a good chart?

Continue reading A Chart is Worth a Thousand Words

Asiana Flight 214: Supportive Voices Speak

When Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed as it landed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday morning, the reaction online was overwhelming, visceral – and full of support. Napa Valley Patch Editor Carlos Villatoro took it upon himself to catalog some of those heartfelt reactions on Patch, namely those posted to Instagram. Below, take a look at the collection of Instagram photos taken in support of those affected, or visit Napa Valley Patch to see them for yourself.

Continue reading Asiana Flight 214: Supportive Voices Speak

Roundup from the Field: Live Chats, Investigative Reporting, and the Secret to a Happy Marriage

From Ledyard Patch:

Study skills expert Laura Maniglia answers questions live on Patch today on keeping learning going even when school's not in session. (STORY)

From The Lymes Patch:

Editor Jayne Keedle investigates a local motel that may, in fact, not be a motel at all. (STORY)

From Beverly Patch:

Blogger Dr. Jamie Engel writes about her grandparents' 70th wedding anniversary today and the secrets that made it work for so long. (STORY)

In other news around the field, check out the healthy debate in the comments section of one Chatham, NJ high schooler's column or tour the University of California at San Diego on a skateboard with this video on La Jolla Patch. And as always, be sure to check your local Patch page to see what's going on in your town!

Continue reading Roundup from the Field: Live Chats, Investigative Reporting, and the Secret to a Happy Marriage

LA Press Club Names Patch Editor Best Online Journalist

Calling his work "a model for the future of journalism on the Internet," the Los Angeles Press Club named Patch's Martin Henderson best online journalist on Sunday night. During its annual awards banquet, the editor of Rancho Santa Margarita and Lake Forest Patches was honored along with other top journalists from TV, radio, print and online and other categories.

According to Rancho Santa Margarita Patch, 10 press clubs from around the nation judged this year's record number of entries. Said the judges: "As media outlets continue to trim their news staffs and the survivors are expected to do more, Henderson demonstrates versatility and skill in his role as editor of the Rancho Santa Margarita Patch. His entry included excellent examples of news writing, video and photography, covering a wide variety of topics from sports and consumer reports to hard hitting political and courporting, all optimized for delivery on the Web. His work serves as a model for the future of journalism on the Internet."

Before joining Patch, Martin spent several decades covering sports in the San Diego and Sacramento areas for several publications, including the Los Angeles Times.

Associate Regional Editor Paige Austin praised Martin's accomplishments, saying "Martin is in prestigious company [among the other LA Press Club winners], and he does Patch proud."

Martin told us he's honored to be a winner in the Los Angeles media market and cited versatility as his strength. "There are some really talented people here. The idea that this judging panel feels my work is a model for the future of journalism on the Internet is an affirmation of the instincts, ideas and experience I bring to the table and gives me a great sense of fulfillment," he said. "It's one of my greatest honors and I'm humbled by it. Just as important, our growth and credibility at Patch is helped by moments like these, and I look forward to sharing more of them with my teammates as they become recognized for their contributions as well."

Continue reading LA Press Club Names Patch Editor Best Online Journalist

Reflections from the Field: Wisconsin Patch Editor Denise Lockwood

This is the first post in our new "Reflections" series on the blog, where Patchers from around the country share interesting or inspiring stories that have had an impact on their communities.

"What is the most rewarding part of your job?"

Caledonia Patch Editor Denise Lockwood pauses and reflects, silent for a moment as she considers my question.

"You know, the most rewarding part...was looking at Jill's eyes and knowing that I didn't make her pain go away, but I helped her through a really difficult time in understanding what the problem was and why her daughter wasn't being found."

About a year ago now, Denise heard about a missing persons case through one of Patch's local partners. A 22-year-old woman from the neighboring town of Racine had gone missing several days earlier, and Denise, herself a mother, posted a story about the case in order to alert the Caledonia community and police about the case.

According to Denise, there has always been a disconnect between the communities of Caledonia and Racine, neighboring towns less than twenty minutes apart. Because of this, the Caledonia police, who had found the missing woman's backpack along the side of the road, had not been aware that she was missing prior to reading Denise's story.

After the story was posted, Denise made sure it went viral throughout the online community of Caledonia. Upon reading Denise's story, the Caledonia police sent out a search party less than a block from Denise's house. Denise herself jumped in to help out with the search for Rebecca that day, until, after a while, the girl's body was discovered at the bottom of a nearby rock quarry.

"I wrote the story and put it up and I was thinking, you know, 'I'm a mom of an 18-year-old' at the time, and I couldn't just sit still, and I decided I was going to go out and look for her."

Denise searched, knocked on doors and talked to people around the community looking for information. Rebecca's body was discovered later that day. The story was written, and the towns of Racine and Caledonia discussed how they could coordinate communication to prevent lapses in the future.

It seemed over, but just last week, Denise found herself at a local tavern with her fiancé when a woman approached her. The woman asked her if she was Denise Lockwood, "with the Patch." The woman went on to explain that she was Jill Ryan, Rebecca's mother. She hugged Denise and cried, saying, "Thank you so much for what you did. And please keep doing these things, please keep doing what you do."

When Denise responded that she didn't really do that much, Jill went on and said, "You don't understand how much that meant to me. Because, quite frankly, even though Rebecca is dead, we were able to have some closure and able to have some understanding, and really highlight a problem in how the police departments communicate with each other."

For Denise, Jill's reaction served as a humbling moment and a reminder of the power of Patch.

"Patch, I think, also really harnesses the power of the community, which is unique in that I think my role as a journalist is a lot different because you get to know people in your community a lot more, you connect with them a lot more," she said. "So it's hard to not jump in and help! And I think that's what Patch is about...that is what Patch means to me."

Denise has been in journalism for 14 years, but spoke passionately about her time at Patch and her unique ability to help connect the people of Racine and Caledonia.

"I'm not just a journalist, I'm someone who has value to a community, and Patch helps me do that."

Sydney Moyer is a recent graduate of Boston University where she earned a BS in Communications, and is currently a communications intern at Patch in New York, NY. Contact Patch at or Tweet us @PatchPR.

Continue reading Reflections from the Field: Wisconsin Patch Editor Denise Lockwood

Patch Editors Win 13 State SPJ Awards

Members of the Connecticut Patch team recently took home 13 awards in the online category at the Society of Professional Journalists' Connecticut Chapter Awards Banquet for recognition in reporting statewide. Congratulations to all the award winners, who are listed below. Be sure to visit Avon Patch to read more about the awards event.

Reporting: General Reporting Series; Online
First place: Madison Patch Superstorm Sandy coverage; Pem McNerney (Editor, Madison and Guilford Patches) (pictured with Patch's Paul Singley, who received Honorable Mention for Newtown shooting reporting -- see below)

Second place: Mystic Streetscape Project;Ellyn Santiago (Editor, Stonington-Mystic and Groton Patches), Bree Shirvell, Deb Straszheim

Honorable mention: Coverage of Oxford teen's death;; Paul Singley (Editor, Naugatuck and Oxford Patches)

Reporting: Investigative Series; Online
First place: Uncasville Massage Business Owner Has Prostitution Conviction in New York; Ellyn Santiago (Editor, Stonington-Mystic & Groton Patches)

Second place: Waterbury Fire captain was suspended in Avon before police investigation began; Jessie Sawyer (Editor, Avon and Farmington Patches)

Editorial: General Column; Online
First place: Breast Cancer: Stuff They Never Tell You; Ronni Newton (Editor, West Hartford Patch)

Second place: Martin Dagradi: Italian Family Man and Veteran; Jessie Sawyer (Editor, Avon and Farmington Patches)

Editorial: Opinion Column; Online
First place: 50 Shades of Grey: Just How Smutty Is It?; Susan Schoenberger (Associate Regional Editor)

Layout: Headline; Online
First place: Suspected Burglar Catches The Flue; Dirk Langeveld (Editor, New London and Montville Patch)

Newtown Shooting: General Reporting; Online
Honorable mention: Sandy Hook principal: Mother, educator, leader, hero; Paul Singley (Editor, Naugatuck and Oxford Patches)

Reporting: Arts & Entertainment; Online
First place: Kristian Bush: From Avon Old Farms to Sugarland; Jessie Sawyer (Editor, Avon and Farmington Patches)

Continue reading Patch Editors Win 13 State SPJ Awards

Bay Area Patch Editor Wins Seven Regional Awards

Charles Burress, Local Editor for Albany Patch and Berkeley Patch in California, swept the 36th Annual Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards winning seven awards. The San Francisco Peninsula Press Club honored winners in 41 categories that were selected from a pool of almost 500 entries across 11 Bay Area counties.

His reporting won first place for News Story, Feature of a Light Nature, and Headline, a category in which he won second and third place as well. Charles's work includes reporting on milestone scientific discoveries at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as fun pieces like this one that explains the significance of President's Day. Before coming to Patch, Charles worked for many years as a writer and editor at the San Francisco Chronicle and has freelanced for the Los Angeles Times and the United Nations.

When asked about the awards, Charles said, "I think the recognition belongs to the entire Patch team. My role can be played only because of the larger Patch enterprise created and sustained by the hard work and talent of many others. I mean not only the platform and tools but also the support and inspiration I receive from colleagues."

Read more from Charles Burress

Continue reading Bay Area Patch Editor Wins Seven Regional Awards

Patch Editor Named Among Nation's Best Political Reporters

In a recent survey by The Washington Post's blog The Fix, South Carolina Patch Political Editor Shawn Drury was named one of the top political reporters in the state. The survey took into account nominations from the blog, Facebook and Twitter and focused on the "go-to" political reporter in each state across several types of media. Others recognized throughout the country included reporters from The New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe and the Associated Press.

Both Shawn and the S.C. Patch team have been quite active in the political arena: Shawn recently served as a moderator for the Patch-hosted Sanford-Colbert Busch debate in South Carolina and the S.C. Patch team was recently recognized as the top new media source for politics, as reported by Goose Creek Patch.

Shawn's reporting portfolio includes in-depth political profiles and analyses such as a piece on Congressman Mark Sanford's (R) name recognition and theviability of a Democratic Party takeover of South Carolina's fifth district seat.

When asked how he felt about the recognition, Shawn said, "There's nothing more satisfying professionally than being recognized by your audience and your peers for your work. So I'm thankful for that, but I'm even more thankful to be part of an incredible Patch team in South Carolina."

Read more highlights from Shawn Drury below:

[Photo credit: Teresa Rogers]

Continue reading Patch Editor Named Among Nation's Best Political Reporters

Patch Hosts Colbert Busch-Sanford Debate in S.C.

The top candidates for South Carolina's first congressional district, former Governor Mark Sanford and Elizabeth Colbert Busch, met April 29 for their first and only debate. The sold-out, 75-minute Patch-sponsored debate was live streamed on Charleston Patch. Moderated by South Carolina Patch Political Editor Shawn Drury, South Carolina Radio Network News Director Ashley Byrd and WCBD-TV Charleston anchor Brendan Clark, the candidates were questioned on federal spending, immigration, gun rights and other key topics in the race.

Patch conceived of and organized the debate - even down to the coin toss. Patch green was everywhere - from TIME magazine to the Today Show. And more than 25 national and 17 local media outlets were on hand to cover the event.

Continue reading Patch Hosts Colbert Busch-Sanford Debate in S.C.

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