Battlefront New Media – A Patch Invasion Is Underway

A classic David and Goliath story is presented in a Radio Television Digital News Association post on America Online’s entry into local journalism. The American broadcast news association’s Communicator page headlines with a report from Steve Safran, Editor of Lost Remote.

Safran writes “Patch is moving in…it’s time to pay attention.” He lays out the conflict between local newspaper, radio and television websites and AOL’s effort to remake itself. AOL’s Patch has 100 local sites in operation at this writing and a plan for 500 before year’s end.

The RTDNA story gives notice AOL has “deep pockets” and is going after market share local media has to reclaim as their own. Safran warns Patch has designs on the territory owned by local outlets and advises there is still time to thwart a “Philistine” like invasion. However he cautions local “Davids” to get their staffs, stones and slingshots ready for confrontation.

The “How You Can Beat Patch” report is one of the more informative posts I’ve read on the RTDNA site. The strategy is as old as media itself and was once a condition of licensing by the United States’ Federal Communications Commission. It’s refreshing to see a return of tried and proven practices almost 30-years since the tactics were abandoned.

This is the pitch made by Tewksbury, Massachusetts Patch editor William (Bill) Gilman and it presents the Patch battle plan.

Tewksbury Patch is one of AOL’s newest sites. Obviously video is part of the Patch local strategy. To counter AOL Safran counsels local media websites to “use the inexpensive multimedia tools available to them to report, constantly, via a river of news.”

Similar advice is presented often and previously on Broadcast Newsroom Computing. So, I’ll repeat get local and get social. Local media profits by being good citizens serving the audience what they need as much as what you believe they desire.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC

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