I’ve written a few times about Patch.com, AOL’s hyper-local news experiment that’s headed this way faster than a dial-up connection. Patch poohbahs are being strangely reluctant to talk publicly about the Minnesota efforts, but they’re apparently paying decent enough salaries to raid the staffs of Minnesota’s smaller newspapers.
I know of a couple of young journalists who’ve been plucked away — Mike Rose, formerly of the Austin Daily Herald, and now, Kris Janisch, the managing editor of the Stillwater Gazette. The Gazette, a Sun Suburban newspaper, is already advertising for Janisch’s replacement.
Patch currently lists 37 full-time editorial jobs in Minnesota. (Rosemount, New Ulm, Maple Grove, etc.) Employees work from home, and editors supervise an army of freelancers. It sounds like a meat grinder, but have you ever worked for a small-town newspaper?
I have no idea how long Patch will survive — AOL is pumping in millions — but I’m glad the next generation has a new avenue to choose. At least until the creative destruction settles out, this also opens up jobs at legacy papers and perhaps — is it too much to hope for? — a pay raise or two.
If you know other experienced journalists who’ve signed on to the S.S. Patch, let me know.