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Patch Work

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If you’ve Googled any Westchester happenings or newsworthy events recently, you most likely have encountered local Patch.com sites. Acquired by AOL in 2009 soon after its founder, Tim Armstrong, became AOL’s CEO, Patch.com is a network of hyper-local news and information sites. Patch entered the Westchester market in December 2009 with its Rye site. Today, it has 22 sites in the Hudson Valley—17 of them in Westchester; at press time, the online company had sites in 18 states and the District of Columbia. “We’ve had a huge expansion in and around the county,” says Katie Ryan O’Connor, Patch’s senior regional editor for the Hudson Valley and Connecticut. Each site is managed by a journalist, who works from home. O’Connor likens Patch to “your favorite diner: when you walk in, everybody’s talking about what’s going on locally around you. We can’t feed you, though, unfortunately!”

    What differentiates Patch.com from other news sites, O’Connor claims, is user participation. Patch’s users “are as much a part of Patch as my local editors or I am. Not only do they suggest stories, but they generate their own content.” Users can upload original content, including commentaries, events, announcements—even photographs. “We’ve found that people will know way more about their own community than we will ever know.”

    Janina Iamunno, Patch’s vice president of communications, says they are currently at about seven million unique page views per month for all Patch sites nationwide. O’Connor says, “We wouldn’t be growing at the pace we’ve been growing if people weren’t responding to the content we’re offering.”

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