Patch Blog

Hack Jersey... We Won!

In recent news, Teaneck Patch Local Editor Noah Cohen and Ridgewood-Glen Rock Patch Local Editor James Kleimann joined Hack Jersey, a weekend-long competition at Montclair State University where coders and journalists came together to create news projects using public data with the aim of creating the most compelling news pieces they could.

Noah and James, along with Brian Donohue of Echolocation, were presented with Hack Jersey's "Overall Winner" award by NJ News Commons Director Debbie Galant. Their project, CrashDataNJ, is an application that helps readers understand information from the NJ Dept. of Transportation on the Garden State Parkway. This team's prize is a visit to the NY Times' R&D laboratory and lunch with VP Michael Zimbalist. Go Patch!


Courtesy of D. Gallant

Continue reading Hack Jersey... We Won!

Manuary 2013: NY Patchers Get Scruffy for a Cause

In what has become a very Patchy annual tradition, this year's Manuary overgrew the Patch HQ office in New York City. In the words of the highly esteemed Manuary Committee, "Beards are alive and buzzing in the hallowed halls of Patch." This year, Manuary combined the opportunity to donate to an important cause and, at the same time, helped celebrate one of Patch's most ancient cultural traditions: beard growing.

A record 35 participants across a number of HQ teams joined and, along with their sponsors, have raised $2,400 for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, with multiple beards having hundreds of dollars in sponsorship!

Last year, 30 competing beards graced the competition and more than 15 trophies were awarded, including the contest's most coveted prizes, the "Best in Show" award and the "Patchiest" award.

Manuary's Golden Rule: "Love thy neighbor's beard." Some beards are easy to grow and some are not. Some beards are pretty to look at, some are not. Regardless of the beard, we celebrate each and every beard. Every beard is a personal journey of discovery and many times these journeys are arduous.

Gallery: Manuary 2013

Continue reading Manuary 2013: NY Patchers Get Scruffy for a Cause

Sandy: Three Months Later the Work Continues

On October 29th, Sandy struck the East Coast, destroying homes and lives in thousands of communities - including 329 Patch towns.

Three months later, Forest Hills Patch Local Editor Matthew Hampton rode along with the American Red Cross Disaster Relief team to see how, three months after Superstorm Sandy, efforts to help those affected in the Rockaways continue.

In the video, Matt talks with volunteers, locals and the Red Cross, getting a firsthand account of how residents have been making do in what have most certainly been challenging times. Lines of people who need food continue to come out to the emergency response vehicles which go out into communities, like the Rockaways, and deliver food directly to those who need it most.

Patch is proud to support the efforts of the Red Cross and the many other organizations and individuals providing relief to those in need, and our editors and staff continue to provide coverage and essential information for these areas, 24/7.

Continue reading Sandy: Three Months Later the Work Continues

Patch + Dow Jones News Fund = Best Internship Ever!

At Patch we love our interns and all the ideas, enthusiasm and variety of backgrounds that they bring to our company. And in turn we work hard to give them an incredible experience that they'll never forget, regardless of where their career ultimately takes them.

Over the last few years we've sent a small number of our interns to Digital Workshops sponsored by the Dow Jones News Fund (DJNF). This year we're thrilled to announce that through an expanded partnership with DJNF, all 40 of our interns will be automatically accepted into this Patch-specific program. The program is held at Western Kentucky University and is led by Dr. Pam Johnson and other staff members.



In addition to working alongside Patch Local Editors and learning how to run a community website, Patch interns will attend workshops where they will work in teams of three to produce enterprise stories for the Web. Team websites will focus on digital storytelling via text, photos, video, audio, mash-ups and data visualization.

The intern teams will practice "knowledge-based reporting"; teams will use research studies from Journalist's Resource for story background. The Harvard University Kennedy School produces Journalist's Resource.

The news teams will produce storyboards prior to conducting week-long fieldwork and website production. Also, interns will attend Web software and production
workshops.

The workshop staff will include: Dr. Pam McAllister Johnson, Western Kentucky University, Director and Writing Coach; Ron DeMarse, Western Kentucky University, Video and Audio Coach; Nancie Dodge, Arizona State University, Photo, Web Production and Design Coach and Linda Johnson, Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper, Computer Assisted Reporting and Mash-up Coach.

Upon completion of the DJNF workshop and Patch internship, interns returning to school will receive a $1,000 scholarship. They will also join a network of over 50,000 DJNF alumni providing them with resources and support as they embark on their journeys post-college.

In short, we want our internship program to be a fantastic way to launch a career in Journalism, and thanks to the efforts of our amazing staff and the DJNF, we're getting better every year. Patch believes in investing in journalists, and we're proud to offer this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

(To apply, visit www.patch.com/jobs or email PatchU@patch.com with your resume, cover letter and 2 or 3 relevant writing samples.)

Continue reading Patch + Dow Jones News Fund = Best Internship Ever!

Patch and Starbucks Ask Washington
to 'Come Together' to Avoid Fiscal Cliff

As an organization, Patch is built on the idea of strengthening local communities and bringing democracy to life. Our network of websites delivers not only relevant, hyper-local information, but also amplifies the voices of our readers. And with difficult choices facing our elected officials in the coming days and weeks, the need for citizens to speak up and be heard has never been greater.

It is why I am proud to announce that starting this week, Patch is partnering with Starbucks – another staple of the community – on its "Come Together" initiative. Just as Patch serves great content and Starbucks serves delicious coffee, we need Democrats and Republicans to join forces and serve meaningful solutions to the pending financial obstacles our country faces.

Through December 28, Starbucks is asking its store partners (employees) in the Washington D.C. area to write "Come Together" on their customers' cups as a small gesture to celebrate the spirit that has always bridged the differences dividing us.

Patch will be supporting "Come Together" via a unique content experience on patch.com/fixthedebt, and will also be powering this effort through blog posts, social media, online ads and other editorial content across many of our local sites. You can learn more at fixthedebt.org. The goal: to bring the message of collaboration from local communities to Washington and onto the national stage.

This initiative with Starbucks is just the first step in a marathon for both of our brands in serving the people of this country beyond local news and great coffee. Stay tuned for more in the future.

Continue reading Patch and Starbucks Ask Washington
to 'Come Together' to Avoid Fiscal Cliff

Shooting in Newtown, CT: How to Help

All of us at Patch are devastated by the incomprehensible act that took the lives of innocent children and adults at Sandy Hook School in the Patch community of Newtown, CT, including our editors and staff who have been covering the tragedy since it occurred.

Many people from around the world have asked how to help. If you would like to be updated on how you can help the families of the victims and the community as a whole, please go to Newtown Patch and tell us "I want to help" in the comments. Newtown Patch will continue to keep you informed about efforts that are underway. Thank you.

Continue reading Shooting in Newtown, CT: How to Help

Win $100,000 for your local school!

It's the holiday season again, and at Patch that means one thing: "Deck the House!"

For the second year in a row, Patch is holding it's Deck the House contest to highlight the best-decorated homes across the nation -- and donate $100,000 to a local school on behalf of the winner.

So channel your inner Clark Griswold, dust off those lawn reindeer, untangle the lights, and enter Deck the House here. You'll win the admiration of your neighbors and Patch readers nationwide, and have a chance to give $100,000 to your local school. Plus, 24 lucky winners will have their electric bill paid by Patch.

Check out last year's grand prize winner in Davis, CA, here.

Good luck and Happy Holidays!

Continue reading Win $100,000 for your local school!

Patch salutes our nation's veterans

Today and tomorrow we at Patch join the rest of the nation in thanking our 21.5 million living veterans, and all those who went before them, for their service and sacrifice to preserve our safety, security and way of life. We are proud to have many veterans working at Patch across the country, and to them we extend a special thank you.

I urge you to visit your local Patch site and see the tributes to your neighbors who have served, find special Veterans Day activities, deals at local restaurants and other businesses, and what's open or closed on Monday, November 12th.

In Troy, MI, residents are uploading photos of the vets in their lives on Troy Patch.

In Coronado, CA, a big military town, Coronado Patch highlights a Walmart Veterans Day commercial that includes an inspiring Patch video clip.

And in Caledonia, WI, Caledonia Patch features the class of 1971 at JJ Case High School dedicating a new walkway to school veterans.

We are proud of our vets and wish them a very happy Veterans Day.

-Warren Webster, Co-Founder, Patch Media


Continue reading Patch salutes our nation's veterans

Patch cleans up at San Diego Press Club awards

Every day here at Patch HQ we hear stories from our 800+ communities about ways Patch has made a difference in people's lives. We've helped families in need get critical support, we've exposed major issues and corruption, and we've found countless lost pets. On a day-to-day basis we are happy to simply provide the basic information that residents need to live more informed, perhaps more efficient, lives in their hometowns. Behind all of this is a team of incredibly committed and talented professional journalists who are imbedded in their neighborhoods, tirelessly covering and curating the issues that matter. And while they're not asking for pats on the back, it is very rewarding when the efforts of these journalists are recognized by peers in the industry, especially for such a brand new company in a world of 100-year-old+ news outlets.

Last week, our San Diego-area team won 24 awards at the 39th Annual San Diego Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards. Patch picked up 9 first place plaques and 15 other honors at a sold-out dinner attended by 400 members of the California media community. You can read the whole story here. We're very proud of our team, led by senior regional editor, Chris Jennewein! Congratulations, and Go Patch!

Continue reading Patch cleans up at San Diego Press Club awards

All Things Politics on Patch, Now in One Place

To say that it's a busy time in the political world is an understatement, which is why I'm thrilled to announce the launch of our national Patch Politics website. Here's what you'll find:

  • Our only-on-Patch coverage which we're calling "Every Race in Every Town." The in-depth information on all the races that have an impact on Patch towns: Every race, every candidate, every ballot initiative, and all the information on where, when and how to vote.
  • Our Patch Polls, which go to the politically influential folks in your town, can be an early indicator of the local leanings. And curious neighbors can dive into our political donation databases to find the big donor next door.
  • Our up-to-the-minute local reporting as the presidential candidates crisscross the country, caught by locals who really know the territory and can capture the best newsmaking moments.
  • The articles that show off how we've become the preeminent platform for local discussion -- on Thursday alone, Patch hosted debates with the governors of Massachusetts and South Carolina, and posted the video from a mayoral candidates forum in California.
You can find Patch Politics on Facebook and Twitter. Follow us and send us your feedback!

Continue reading All Things Politics on Patch, Now in One Place

A Sneak Peek: The New Patch

Three and a half years ago, Patch set out to give you a new way to connect to your neighbors, get informed, and find what you're looking for. We've changed lives with our stories and improved communities through comprehensive coverage of what matters most to you and the people that live nearby. But being a part of over 900 unique communities made us realize that Patch was capable of doing even more, so we set out to improve the Patch experience and align it better with how neighborhood life really works.

This week, we're unveiling the new Patch on five of our nearly 900 sites. Along with our vibrant, friendly new design, you'll see that the site works a little differently; the local news that you've come to know and trust can now be custom-fit to the way you live. It's a new Patch experience for staying in the know from phone, tablet, or desktop. Wherever you go, Patch works the way you do.

The new Patch will fit the everyday life of your community, and all the people, places, and groups that make it thrive. It's a more neighborly hub of common interests and activities - where learning, sharing, and doing things together is easy. Plus, it's just plain fun to use.

We hope you'll try out the new Patch and let us know what you think. We'd love to hear from you!

See them here:
Bellmore, NY
Garden City, NY
Levittown, NY
Long Beach, NY
Merrick, NY

Continue reading A Sneak Peek: The New Patch

Patchers hit the streets in New Hampshire

Patch is all about community involvement and every day I hear stories of Patchers out and about, making big splashes in the towns that they cover. Here's a fun one from last week: The New Hampshire Patch team pulled a group of staffers together to join 5,000 runners in a Manchester road race. Local Editors Carolyn Dube (Merrimack), Ryan O'Connor (Bedford), Mike Ryan (Windham), and Tony Schinella (Concord) joined Regional Editor Marc Fortier and Associate Regional Editor Dan Tuohy to hit the streets and proudly show their Patch green. Go New Hampshire Patch!

Continue reading Patchers hit the streets in New Hampshire

Patch partners with author James Patterson's READKIDDOREAD

Patch launched a very cool initiative today across all our sites, a Summer Reading List for kids in partnership with number 1 bestselling author James Patterson's READKIDDOREAD. READKIDDOREAD is a program that encourages kids to read more, not only in the summer months but throughout the year. Patterson is incredibly passionate about the importance of parents getting their kids reading, and the impact that will have on their lives. I can think of no person or organization that is a better fit for Patch's audience than James Patterson and READKIDDOREAD, and the Summer Reading List is only the beginning. We'll have programs running throughout the year that will engage parents and kids in the joys of reading -- and we want them to tell us how it's going on their local Patch. Check out Patterson's intro video here...and let's get kids reading!



Continue reading Patch partners with author James Patterson's READKIDDOREAD

This isn't goodbye...

As you heard on today's All-Company call, after four years as Editor-in-Chief of Patch, I'm moving on. My last day is May 4. I'm leaving for an assortment of reasons, but I'm glad to be able to say that none of them is negative. I love Patch, and I plan on staying very connected as an active alum, most specifically as a member of the advisory board we're continuing to build. I feel incredibly lucky and grateful that I can maintain this connection, and I'll be there anytime Patch calls on me.

Taking leave of Patch ain't easy, but let me try to boil down why I'm doing so: it turns out I really love creating things from scratch, and while Patch is in a continual process of truly fascinating evolution and only a toddler of a company, it has definitely left "scratch" in the dust. So I'm heading off to explore some other startup opportunities. But not before I take a good, long nap.

Patch has never just been a job for me. It's been a very personal experience. Jon Brod, who co-founded Patch and brought me on (as employee #4!), has been a close friend since college, twenty years ago. I turned 40 while at Patch. My two children were born while I was here. (In fact, I had to hastily leave a meeting to attend my son David's birth.) I didn't make this decision lightly, and I wouldn't be able to pull the trigger if I didn't feel Patch were in good shape and in great hands. One of several bittersweet feelings I'm having right now is the fact that Patch is enjoying such palpable momentum as a business. We've always joked that Patch is a bus we're building while it runs at top speed -- well, it feels like we've stopped wobbling and fishtailing from the fast start and now we're cruising.

There's still a lot of work left to do, of course, but I have to say I love how that work is getting organized and knocked out - especially on the revenue side. Mark Josephson and his team are killing it right now. And on the content side, same thing. I've only worked with Rachel Feddersen for about six weeks now but I have loved the ideas and focus she has brought to Patch. I've already learned a ton from her, and I'm sad to have to give up that partnership. She and I are touring around Patchland as I write this, and we're having a blast.

Allow me this indulgence of a paragraph: I've never worked for a company that has been as scrutinized, criticized, and coal-raked as this one. As Jon likes to say, you'd think we were creating toxic waste, instead of, you know, free useful information. We have critics on Wall Street, critics in the media, local critics, national critics, the business press, the journalism reviews, bloggers, etc. There are so many that I've come to think of them as a single large, screechy, off-key band called BI and the Haters. It's music to kill yourself by.

The good news about that? I think it's safe to say that we wouldn't be constantly deboned by all these critics if we weren't doing something really interesting and potentially threatening. People associated with, dependent on, or invested in existing systems don't like bold new attempts to re-imagine those systems. That's just the reality of a business like ours.

But if you ever find these noisome types getting you down and you want to escape it, just turn toward the community you work in. Because our users don't sing this tune. They just get us. They may sometimes chide us for certain ways we've executed things (or not executed them), but has any user ever complained to you that they don't understand why we exist? There's a reason we get thousands of emails from users about how we've improved their lives. We're trying to make communities better, stronger. If you're on the receiving end of that mission, what the hell is there to complain about?!

We have a lot to be proud of. We have accomplished some amazing things together. Historical things. Seriously -- no matter what happens from here on, any future history book about journalism or online media has to discuss Patch. How many more companies are you going to work for in your career where that will be true?

Here's what I'm most proud of: the people we've hired. We're staffed with some truly inspiring talent, on all sides of the business. Especially among you editors, whose work I obviously know best. I'm not bullshitting when I say I've learned from you every day. The job we gave you is hard. You have to be a certain kind of fearless to take it on. You don't just have to accept that the job will never be easy; you actually have to like that about it. And you have to be passionate. And man, you are.

And the editors I've gotten to know who fit this bill are just kickass people, on top of being pros. If I may offer some advice to you as an editorial team on my way out the door: if you're still inclined to think of yourself as a journalist, stop -- you're selling yourself short. This job gives you the opportunity to practice journalism while being something much greater. And if you're too concerned with living up to some rarefied notion of what a capital-J Journalist should be, you won't explore what else you can do with your position in your community.

I know it may seem like you're constantly being asked from on high to do this and that requirement or hit this or that goal, but in reality very little is actually prescribed about your role. Having created the job out of whole cloth, we have always looked to you to show us what can be made of it. So don't just write. Don't just report. Get into your communities. Figure out what being in the driver's seat of this remarkable local platform can really let you do.

There are a ton of people I need to thank. Tim Armstrong is #1 on that list. Patch is his vision, and I've never worked for a leader with more energy and bravery to push the ideas he's passionate about. I have to thank Jon Brod for trusting me to help create this company from nothing four years ago. I have to thank Warren Webster, who bleeds green and has been a calm, essential leader for Patch since the beginning.

If I name anyone else, I run the risk of leaving out someone just as deserving -- Patch has an extraordinary team of leaders and I love that I consider so many of them friends beyond our working relationship. I will miss being in the foxhole with you guys.

I do want to single out the Editorial Directors here -- Marcia, Sherry, Tim and ADC. You four were my rocks. You each bring something unique to the table and lead your teams in your own way, but it's the fierce caring you all exhibit that I've valued most. Couldn't have done anything we've done without you. Not even close.

Most of all I'm grateful to each and every editor at Patch. Being able to say I led a team of hundreds of wickedly smart, dedicated editors is an honor that will be tough to top in my career going forward. Thank you, and keep up the amazing work. I'll be watching.

A final note: This thing we've been trying to build here can't be fueled by timidity or complacency. Those of us who were here in the beginning followed Tim's lead and tried to be fast and bold. That's still very much needed. So, to be blunt, don't be afraid to fuck up. We weren't.

In the next couple of weeks I'm going to get out into the field as much as possible to say face-to-face goodbyes. For those I don't get to see, thank you, good luck and let's stay in touch. It has truly been an honor.

Onward!

B

Continue reading This isn't goodbye...

Batter Up! Patch signs Mark Teixeira

We are thrilled to announce today that Patch has signed two-time All-Star and four-time Golden Glove winner Mark Teixeira as "Commissioner of Patch Baseball"! Patch is all about hometown and neighborhood, and what's more hometown than baseball? Mark will answer questions from residents of Patch towns, share baseball tips, post exclusive videos, and offer young athletes some advice about healthful eating and staying in shape. Mark is a resident of a Patch town, grew up in another, and is an avid Patch user and supporter. We're very excited to have him on the team!

Continue reading Batter Up! Patch signs Mark Teixeira

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