More Perspective on the Patch Layoffs in Connecticut

By | August 20, 2013

Patch swag from 2010

Patch swag from a free coffee giveaway in Tolland, CT in 2010. Photo by Marie K. Shanahan

Here are a few more insights from Patch folks who were recently laid off, and from a couple of editors who are still working in Connecticut.

“I think the layoffs were done too quickly, too thoughtlessly, and without enough input from those who know the area. But, that’s pretty typical of Patch’s approach.”

“One thing that always irritated me is HQ’s propensity towards pushing ideas/initiatives down our throats without really accepting any feedback at the LE (local editor) level. It’s as if we didn’t know any better, even though we’re the boots on the ground.”

“They ramped up too fast, over-promised too much. The one-editor, one-site model, we all knew, was a losing proposition from the get-go.”

“They should have only launched sites in major markets where there was money (Glastonbury, Old Saybrook, West Hartford, for example) and then expanded into smaller ones.”

“Waaaaaaay too much upper management in NYC.”

“People at HQ [make] decisions that treat every site the same as though they are McDonald’s franchises instead of portals for local news, info and community interaction.”

“A lot of [the issues with lack of metrics] were cleaned up during 2012. I had a period where, once we were able to figure out accurately what stories were getting traction and which weren’t, I averaged [tens of thousands] of UVs a month. Then they rolled out Patch 2.0, and it was like everything was lost or functionless. It was like going from a Harley Davidson to a kids tricycle overnight.”

“Identity crisis: where Patch still really can’t figure out what it’s “brand” is after more than 3 years or why people would choose it as their “trusted brand” on the web against so much other competition.”

“They should have been doing a combination of aggregation and original content long before now.”

“Patch just became a HQ machine. Do this, don’t do that. It was difficult to rebel against but also necessary for self-preservation.”

“They pretty much told us at some point last year that your “career” at Patch was being viewed on very black and white terms: either you made your [web traffic/social media] goals, or you didn’t.”

“If you were smart enough, you’d realize that the goals just kept growing and becoming more and more untenable, and there was only so much traffic you could wring from your local community. So you had to be creative about ways to attract or “lure” more people to your sites.”

“Patch has been in many ways the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. It allowed me to reach a community, make a real difference in their lives, was exciting, challenging, rewarding, all while I was able to spend time [with my children].”

“In the end, we were paid too much but we worked even harder. It’s sad, really.”

“Not everyone at Patch is adaptable, which basically is what the job has become now – being able to turn on a dime every 2 weeks to 2 months.”

“I had worked to be exactly what Patch wanted – or thought they wanted: an employee completely infused in the community who was trusted by officials and nearly often was the first to break big stories.”

“What I don’t understand is Patch laid off people who were productive and seemed to be doing what they are supposed to.”

“I don’t regret the years I spent at Patch, but I do regret the heartless way they axed us.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: I agreed to post these comments as anonymous, because none of these Patch journalists want to put their severance pay or job security in jeopardy.

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