So Long, Farewell, Goodbye

Why am I writing this?

Well, I didn't want to fade off into oblivion without an answer to the public about what will be the sudden disappearance of most of the Patch editorial staff.

As you are probably aware, Patch had been sold recently by AOL, its former parent company, to Hale Gobal in a joint venture to turn around Patch.com and its 900 websites after years of losing cash.

Hale Global has become known to have, what many call, an impressive track record of turning around companies and cultivating growth within the troubled business. But, sometimes there comes a price.

A large round of layoffs happened in August, but another round of layoffs just occurred. After today, most stories probably will stop posting.

It is a little jarring to me. I mean, I'm only a substitute editor, not completely invested as many of the former long-time local editors were. I started out as an education and crime reporter with Patch in Glendora. As Patch continued to evolve to adapt to the economic tide in which it swam, I and many editors did as well.

I covered crime for Glendora, Claremont-La Verne, Diamond Bar-Walnut, Arcadia, Monrovia, La Crescenta-Montrose, Altadena … well, I eventually covered stories for our entire county network and have found it an incredible learning experience.

I want to thank everyone at Patch who had faith in me to write the news.

It has been interesting to see the evolution of Patch, from a hyperlocal news website to what it will eventually become.

Patch will live on.

In what form? I've been sworn to secrecy, but you will all find out in time.

I must say I have enjoyed covering crime, education, city politics and human interest stories in town.

I don't want to necessarily speak for every other editor, but it is safe to say we did our best to bring you the news despite what we were up against financially.

I have enjoyed covering stories in Altadena. It is a delightful foothill community. I wish I could have become more familiar with town to fully bring you everything Altadena has to offer.

My only regret is not being able to publish stories I had planned: a feature on the continued effort to create a separate Altadena school district and a business, Holistic Evaluation, providing medical marijuana evaluations to patients.

I just want to give you a heartfelt thanks for taking time to follow us. So long, farewell, goodbye.
Donna Evans (Editor) January 29, 2014 at 05:36 PM
Aaron you have been awesome all along. For anyone reading this, I am the former local editor for South Pasadena and LCF (despite that the website here still calls me editor). Your post is really transparent, and I remember a time when that mattered to the higher ups at Patch. Nice working with you, even tangentially. I'm sure our paths will cross again if you stay in journalism :-)
Leslie Aitken January 29, 2014 at 06:45 PM
Hmm.....I can't say that I am surprised. No offense to you, but after Dan A. left, the Altadena Patch became irrelevant to Altadena. He was at every event, very involved, he was a reporter AND an editor. I was a writer for this Patch when it started -- lots of local interest and local advertising. Once Dan left, there was no more personal touch, no connection with the community and it became nothing more than a bulletin board of rehashed news from the Altadenablog. When ALL of the local businesses stopped advertising, I stopped reading it. The funny thing is that I saw this coming a long way off........too bad AOL didn't. Good luck to you!
Surf's Up January 29, 2014 at 08:52 PM
There are discernible reasons why Patch failed. It never really was a newspaper. And, frankly it shows. All the public relations pieces masquerading as articles - I am sorry but they were not journalism. I've only been active in the community for about a year - but even the supposed hard news pieces really were not articles. They were announcements and press releases - from the local Sheriff's Office, from the Farmer's Market, etc. Could Patch become a valuable addition to the Altadena community, yes. Aaron, you did the best you could with what you were given. So there is no condemnation of your work. And, please don't bemoan the death of online community news - online local newspapers like Patch are not dead. Far from it. They are in their infancy. When an online local newspaper can capture the hearts and minds of it's constituency - a entrepreneurial miracle will happen. It will suddenly be financially successful in a way that will give the appearance that it's always been a winner. Unfortunately, that model so far isn't Patch. Perhaps Hale Global will do a better job with Patch than AOL. There is good reason to think so. AOL had the keys to the internet castle - then has systematically destroyed each market it touched. Remember the days when AOL overcharged it customers and refused to cancel paid Internet ISP service - no matter how many times consumers called and requested it? Like with everything else AOL gets involved with - I for one say "goodbye to bad rubbish."
Fortified- AKA Carlos Danger January 29, 2014 at 09:16 PM
Leslie, from what I read, It is not whether Dan was here or not. It was the change that editors suddenly had multiple sites, combined with not living in the city they run. Altadenablog is organic homegrown. I believe AOL offered him the Altadena patch editor position, but New York based, nationwide policy making just is not the same thing. AOL did the smartest move ever. They talked Ted Turner into giving billions for a service company that had already peaked some years back.
Eric January 30, 2014 at 12:12 PM
It really is a shame what has become of Patch. Like some of you, I first became aware of the Altadena Patch after the huge windstorms and power outage from a few years back. During the 5 days we were without power, Patch was an indispensable location for me to get whatever information I could. Because that alone, I became hooked to the site. It was the first site I visited every morning just to see what was going on my the community I lived in. As Leslie mentioned, after Dan left, things began to change and my interest in the website weakened and weakened. I still get the updates sent to my email, but maybe I visit the site once a week now...that's a big maybe. It's just not relevant anymore. Good luck Aaron in whatever you pursue next. To be honest, I think your hands were tied here and it's probably a good thing you are moving on. . .
Michael O'Neal-Petterson January 30, 2014 at 12:15 PM
Years ago, I envisioned thousands of localized sites, which acquired content by micro-payment, say 5 or 10 bucks a story as vetted by a central editor. I think the Patch model fails since it does not have a proper network of local contributors, and relies on a non-localized editor for everything. I think there's a difficult transition between news and news-I'd-pay-for. Tim does a great job with issues related to Altadena on altadenablog (sorry, altadenapoint), but imagine if there was a feed of local sports scores, a deeper look at community activities, etc. all provided by people who were going to be there anyway. Anyway, I'll miss the patch for the gaps it sometimes fills in local news. But it didn't fill enough gaps for me to really be sad.
Surf's Up January 30, 2014 at 12:43 PM
It is my hope that the new owner of Patch reads these comments. There is a need for solid news pieces, community articles and advertising - where the advertising caters to the communities demographics and is appropriate. If I have to read another fake article that links to the sale of one or another type of crap service or product - I think I will scream. In Altadena and in all communities - what we don't need is centralized editors, anonymous well-meaning faces sitting in New York, Seattle or Chicago. It doesn't matter that the editor may have graduated from Columbia School of Journalism and is 27 years old and wants to change the world. We will only cotton to homegrown editorship. Nothing else matters. Are we xenophobic of outsiders? Of course not. Rather, homegrown journalism has a familiarity that is akin to eating fresh baked mini-muffins at Foxes. It is unique and intimate. The best part of Patch currently is the communal comments. The interaction between neighbors creates a vibrant community. Altadena, is a hidden gem. We are proud - like most communities are in the United States. There might not yet be a business model for an online community paper that makes money. But, again I promise it will happen - whether happens with Patch or in another incarnation. Hale Global are you listening?
Linda R January 30, 2014 at 01:05 PM
No sad loss, so repetitive and not up to date. I agree with Leslie.
Steve Lamb January 30, 2014 at 02:55 PM
There is no substitute for a real local newspaper. Sadly, Altadena has not had one since the Altadena Weekly was sold to Rick Cole and his group and became a part of the Pasadena Weekly. There is no substitute for real journalism on real paper. Electronic journalism isn't. Sadly Altadenas supposed news source is run by someone who isn't a journalist and it REALLY shows.
Steve Lamb January 30, 2014 at 02:58 PM
You have to have editors, editorial boards, infrastructure and a code of ethics and a commitment to the truth combined with a depth in locality. And as I said when Pasadena Now was attempting to cover the news, locally, I'd never buy advertising on a news web site /blog because you don't get anywhere NEAR the eye looks for a net ad that you do for a print one. Print is still where its at.
Rachel Divine January 30, 2014 at 08:33 PM
Well that stinks! I JUST opened my Awesome Yoga Divina Yoga studio?! How am I supposed to schmooze all of my neighbors with yoga? How am I suppossed to tell everyone in Altadena about my GRAND OPENING March 1st if the Patch is no longer here. How will they know that if they mention "the Patch" or "adios Patch" they can get their first class free??* How?! How?! Why?! Why?! *offer good till feb 28th 2014)
Fortified- AKA Carlos Danger January 30, 2014 at 08:49 PM
Rachael....guerilla marketing. Get plastic corrugated lawn signs, A-frame signs, and put them out front until code enforcement warns, or gives a ticket. Then put the signs after hours. Have flyer and coupons always with you to give to people you meet. Make a deal with the pizza place for your coupons, or ads.
Timothy Rutt January 30, 2014 at 09:20 PM
Or, Rachel, you can go through Altadena's ONLY home-grown news website, serving the community for six and a half years, winner of the first Altadena Chamber Business of the Year Award (an award out-of-town Patch could never get), recognized for service by the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors in the wake of the Station Fire -- that would be AltadenaPoint (the former Altadenablog) which already has your business opening in a prominent spot on the front page today. Not to mention, (contra Steve Lamb), a B.S./Editorial Journalism from the University of Colorado, former correspondent for Religion News Service, over 40 years a print journalist including a story in the Washington Post, former columnist for the Los Angeles Times Community Newspaper group ... and AOL's first choice to run the Altadena Patch.
Rachel Divine January 30, 2014 at 09:44 PM
Well now Timothy.. I see how the AltadenaPoint makes is a point to be on top of all things Altadena. And I see my amazing mention for Yoga Divina in Altadena. I might have to do another blast about Yoga Divinas GRAND OPENING on March 1st. Did I mention that we are located in the shopping center behind Pizza Hut? North corner. I no hava no BS, BUT I do have a fantastic deal for AltadenaPoint readers! Mention "AltadenaPoint" and get your 1st class free! Tim, I cant wait to see you and the rest of you Altadenanians (Altadenaites? ) here before and during the opening! At our grand opening we will have very cool deals from some of our very cool small local businesses in Altadena.. I think just for the record, I need to mention AltadenaPoint and Yoga Divina just one more time for good measure :)
Hugo January 30, 2014 at 10:39 PM
And remember Rachel, there are many of us Altadena peeps on Facebook...and also businesses!


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