Patch.com, an off shoot of AOL, provides a unique service of supplying news to places that can usually be forgotten by more mainstream media outlets.
I first heard of Patch.com through my aunt. She has recently taken up writing as a new media to express herself. Her personal blog is such a hit in her town of residence, Plymouth, MA, that when Patch.com decided to establish Plymouth Patch, she was hired as one of two paid bloggers. Every Wednesday she publishes a new blog on everyday topics, covering her family to local politics. Her blog on patch.com can be found here: Are You Kidding Me?.
After some research on the Town of Plymouth, it is easy to see that local news is hard to come by the area news. Plymouth is a relatively small community compared to nearby places, such as Fall River or New Bedford, and they often get left behind in the focus on Cape Cod in the summer months. Looking more north, Plymouth gets drowned out in violence of Taunton and Brockton and they become altogether ignored the closer you get to Boston.
Patch has come in and changed some of that. The Plymouth site is one of activity. On the main page it’s easy to find news on the local schools or town news in general. A more in depth look will show that the site covers several facets of the Plymouth community. Their “browse news” option gives the viewer an easy glance at any and all topics that a person from Plymouth would care about. These topics include: schools, the nuclear power plant, local elections, sports, etc. This where Patch really finds it’s niche. Patch wants a community to actively access their sites and for Plymouth, it works.
Journalists may be wary of a site like Patch where the locals are the reporters, but is there justifiable evidence for it? Who knows. In the hyper local news market, Patch might make serious headway in becoming a household name for those hyper local communities. Does that mean Patch can find a way to incorporate itself as a mainstream media outlet? My guess is no. In the meantime, however, Patch will serve to be a medium for the ignored smaller communities to communicate its news.