A tipster who asks to be identified as “a person close to Patch” sends this report:
In New Jersey, Patch has made the decision to consolidate its Eatontown-Tinton Falls Patch with its Long Branch Patch.
The duties of covering this new “Super Patch” will fall into the able hands of Local Editor Christopher Sheldon. He’s a good journalist, but he’s faced with a potentially impossible task. (I should mention that I do not share the popular opinion that Patch employs nothing but inept or inexperienced journalists. During my tenure there, I saw more good than bad.)
His coverage area will now be over 30 square miles. It will include two universities, three high schools, the site of a former military base now facing redevelopment and four separate municipal governments, planning boards, zoning boards and school boards. This task stands in stark contrast to Patch’s original mission of over-serving a small, local market.
Patch has also made the decision to not make full-time hires for recent vacancies, instead paying contractors to do the full-time job of a Local Editor.
Patch spokesperson Janine Iamunno tells Romenesko readers:
The decision to consolidate some Patch sites was based on feedback from both employees and our users – not driven by HQ – and will actually help us cover our communities more effectively, and better support our local businesses. Our LE Chris Sheldon is part of a great team in place and is well-supported in his effort to cover his community.
The full-time hires line is actually not accurate at all. You can see from our Patch jobs page that we have a number of editorial hires open (local editors and regional editors alike).
Meanwhile, Business Insider’s Nicholas Carlson reports this morning that Patch is letting “many” sales people go due to “underperformance.”