What’s Patch’s editorial strategy now that it’s laid off hundreds of staffers and closed many of its sites? Here’s a report from a Romenesko tipster:
During a conference call last week, all Patch editors were told that each site should have 11 posts per day, per site. The company is planning to provide approximately three of these posts each day, which will consist of a mix of centrally published national news content and “widget” style posts that automatically populate with local open houses, garage sales, movie schedules etc.
The rest, about eight posts per day, will be left to local editors. Since most editors are now responsible for two or three sites, this would add up to either 16 or 24 stories per day, an obviously impossible edict to follow given the oft-slow news cycle of small towns, plus the fact that there are only so many hours in the day. To help accomplish this, editors have been told to simply split stories into pieces and run them in several separate posts, post image galleries from around town and post events and announcements as stories. But even this plan is flawed, as editors now often live far from the towns they are covering, making it geographically infeasible to post image galleries from multiple towns each day. (And let’s be honest, what will these image galleries show, anyway? More overturned traffic cones?)
On earlier conference calls, the company’s determination to continue its focus on user-generated content and free blogs was expressed in no uncertain terms. In the past, these free blogs have often been little more than SPAM-type posts promoting local businesses and niche political causes, and have rarely garnered any readership. As usual with Patch, taking the time to produce quality, engaging local news content seems to be the lowest priority, while a dwindling number of editors overseeing a “content mill” seems to be the new strategy.
Care to add to this, Patch staffers? Post in comments or send me an email.