Patch mogul says media disdain Patch

June 28, 2011

Patch has grand ambitions. It’s moving toward 1,000 hyperlocal news sites; it wants to revolutionize how local news gets delivered; and it’s even got plans to get competitive on the 2012 campaign.

Media coverage of Patch, as I mentioned in a post yesterday, has spent less time on Patch’s possibilities than on its drawbacks — like overworked editors, a business model that’s losing lots of money, suspect traffic.

The negativity burdens AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, who told me yesterday in an interview: “I understand the fact that Patch is not popular with the media. I think your company and a lot of other companies have tried to do local or pulled back because it’s difficult to do. Opportunities are opportunities because it’s hard to figure out how to do them.” And that’s what Patch is doing, he concluded.

There’s good and bad here.

Good: The CEO has a point in that the negative stories have often been a bit gleeful in tone, almost celebrating this enormous venture’s stumbles in gaining its sea legs. I myself am guilty here (and I got hammered on Twitter).

Bad: Armstrong needs to measure his words a bit more. He appears to stating that The Washington Post has “tried to do local,” which is a lot like saying Keith Richards “tried” cocaine.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.
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