Patch Creates Opportunities for New Journalists

Posted by Tim Weideman

In today’s quickly shifting world of print media, young journalists have to be ready to expand in directions they may have never considered.

TechCrunch posted a story Sept. 21 about Patch, a subsidiary of AOL, and its newly developed PatchU, which teams up with colleges and universities to provide students with internships and the opportunity to experience firsthand one of the many new routes news coverage could take.

Patch is a new project that focuses on providing local news coverage to specific communities that are “drastically underserved by the media,” according to the organziation’s website.

Patch maintains websites for 186 communities with populations ranging from 15,000 to 100,000. Each site has an editor and many have contributing writers that cover specific topics.

Looking at the list of schools involved, names such as Northwestern and Missouri leap off the screen, as they are two highly regarded journalism schools.

According to the TechCrunch article, these schools are partnering with local Patch sites. Evanston, Illinois has a site and one for the Maplewood-Brentwood, Missouri area is in the works.

The close partnerships Patch has established with these schools explains why other colleges and universities (i.e. Drake University) that aren’t located in areas lacking media coverage aren’t involved.

But Iowa has communities on the much  lower end of the 15,000 to 100,000 range, too. Why isn’t Patch establishing itself here? Would Patch work in Iowa and other Midwest states? Or do the Iowa media, whether that be local TV/Radio, the Des Moines Register, or the small community newspapers that are still holding on, serve the state’s communities well?

What do you think?

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