Patch Sites to Grow Under AOL Ownership

We’re not trying to be all-Huffington, all-the-time here, but such is the nature of media consolidation. There’s been a flurry of articles about the status of following the HuffPo/AOL acquisition. Arianna Huffington’s faith in the Patch concept is translating into a new phase of growth for the network of hyperlocal news sites, after some scaling back earlier this year.

Bloomberg reported today that AOL will hire up to 800 full-time employees for Patch as it adds sites in markets across the country. Sites are now run by just one full-time editor and get additional content from freelance contributors. The hirings will bulk up those one-person shops. David Brauer of reports that local freelance budgets are also up.

In an interview with Street Fight, Brian Farnham, Patch’s editor-in-chief (pictured), talks in depth about the hyperlocal business model and the future of his sites.

How is the AOL’s acquisition of Huffington Post affecting Patch?
We’re still figuring that out. It’s still early days. … We’ve had many active conversations with them so far, but the integration is an active machine with a lot of moving parts. I don’t have the crystal ball for how it’s all going to shake out. But I do know that in the conversations we’ve had with Arianna Huffington, she’s a huge Patch fan, definitely gets what we’re doing, loves the principle behind Patch … which is how AOL always felt too. Everyone realizes that Patch is trying to do something special and we don’t want to muddy those waters.

For even more about Patch, check out this “So What Do You Do?” Mediabistro interview with Farnham from November.