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AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong fired Patch creative director Abel Lenz two minutes into Friday’s call with Patch employees. Lenz’s sin: Taking a picture of the CEO during his talk. (“No comment,” the fired Patcher wrote Friday from Old Town Bar.)

Here’s the transcript of the first minutes of the call, which I’m told went on for an hour and 40 minutes. You can listen to part of the call (2 minutes, 33 seconds) here.

Tim Armstrong:

There’s a couple of things I want you guys to realize and really think about and sink in, and if it doesn’t sink in and you don’t believe what I’m about to say, I’m going to ask you to leave Patch. And I don’t mean that in a harsh way; I mean that in the way of we have to get Patch into a place where it’s going to be successful and it’s going to be successful for a long time. There’s a whole bunch of towns that are going to be successful but we need the whole enterprise to be successful.

Tim Armstrong (left) and Abel Lenz

Armstrong (left) and Lenz

The first one is, I will take full credit and full responsibility for anything that’s not right at Patch. If the coffee machine doesn’t work, or a town doesn’t work — anything that’s going wrong at Patch you can blame me for it. I founded Patch, we brought it into AOL, we’ve been very busy turning around AOL overall.

I don’t care what the press says, I don’t care if people leak information. I’ve already lived through that at AOL — when I took over AOL — so if you need somebody to blame for why we’re making changes at Patch you can blame me. I take full responsibility. …

I also want to clear up the fact that leaking information or anything around Patch isn’t going to bother me, doesn’t bother me. I’m not changing direction. When you hear about what we’re doing at Patch it’s very serious and it’s very forward-thinking and anything that happens around Patch isn’t going to change that direction.

Third thing is if you don’t use Patch as a product and you’re not invested in Patch, you owe it to everybody else at Patch to leave. If you think what’s going on right now is a joke, and you want to joke around about it, you should pick your stuff up and leave Patch today, and the reason is, and I’m going to be very specific about this, is Patch from an experience — Abel, put that camera down right now! Abel, you’re fired. Out! [Momentary pause.] If you guys think that AOL has not been committed to Patch, and won’t stay committed to Patch, you’re wrong. The company has spent hundreds of millions of dollars, the board of directors is committed, I’m committed. ….

* Listen to the first minutes of Armstrong’s call, including the firing (soundcloud.com/jim-romenesko)
* Earlier: Patch to lay off staff, close sites over next 7 days (jimromenesko.com)


Romenesko reader Nancy Henderson writes: “My husband, a former newspaper reporter here in Nashville and now owner of Fleet Street Pub, put together this ad that ran in the final issue of the City Paper. It’s been getting some great reaction, so I thought I would pass it along to you.”
pubad

She says husband Glenn “was a police reporter and then courts reporter for the Nashville Banner, for about three years. The Banner shut its doors in 1998. (I was a TV reporter there – that’s where we met.) CITYPAPERBoth of us went on to other jobs before the paper shut down. Glenn spent years as a software development engineer, with dreams of one day owning a bar. Laid off after 14 years with his company, he saw that it was the perfect time to actually pursue the dream.

“He and his partner, Ed Nottingham, opened Fleet Street Pub about two years ago. It is located in Printers Alley, the one-time publishing center of Nashville. Thus the name – An English pub, with a newspaper background in both owner and location….

“We recently had a 15-year reunion marking the death of the Nashville Banner, with a pretty nice crowd of Bannerites attending. The City Paper had their “wake” at the pub when news came that it would be shut down.”

* Nashville City Paper