Hyperlocal News Site Has Only Non-Local Editor
Update: The Santa Cruz Patch will remain online with a non-local editor, just as the Watsonville Patch has remained online after firing its local editor, Jennifer Squires, in October of 2013.
As of today, January 29, at 2 pm the Santa Cruz Patch is all over. That’s according to tweets sent this morning by Valerie Lemke, a contributor to the website, as well as by the publication’s editor, Brad Kava.
Santa Cruz Patch began publishing in October 2010 and is part of Patch.com, a US local news and information platform operated by Patch Media Corporation and primarily owned by Hale Global, an investment company that specializes in turning around troubled companies.
Patch.com launched in December 2007 and was cofounded by AOL CEO Tim Armstrong who invested hundreds of millions of dollars into the company. As of June 2013, Patch reportedly operated some 900 local and hyperlocal news websites in 23 US states. Hale Global purchased Patch from AOL on January 15, 2014.
Jim Romenesko reports that Hale Global fired as much as two-thirds of Patch’s editorial staff today, two weeks after the purchase.
[Audio: Patch’s new owner lays off staff. 1:40 minutes]
Excerpt of the 10 a.m. ET conference call transcript:
“Hi everyone, it’s [Patch COO] Leigh Zarelli Lewis. Patch is being restructured in connection with the creation of the joint venture with Hale Global. Hale Global has decided which Patch employees will receive an offer of employment to move forward in accordance with their vision for Patch and which will not. Unfortunately, your role has been eliminated and you will no longer have a role at Patch and today will be your last day of employment with the company. …Thank you again and best of luck.”
Romenesko published emails from Patch employees about the layoff. One email clarifies, “Technically, we were laid off by AOL. I presume that was a condition set by Hale. Second, I have it on good authority the layoffs were 80 to 90 percent of Patchers.”
According to tweets from Santa Cruz Patch Editor Brad Kava and freelance contributor Valerie Lemke, the Santa Cruz Patch is “over … as of 2 pm today.”
Lemke tweeted, “Sad news! Santa Cruz Patch is NO more as of 2 pm today. Thanks so much to all who supported my Blog!! #SantaCruz https://www.facebook.com/SantaCruzPatch”
It was only a matter of time.
* Photograph courtesy of Santa Cruz Patch. April 12, 2012. Santa Cruz Patch Editor Brad Kava poses on a Santa Cruz Police motorcycle.
** This article is an updated version of the one published on Indybay.org.