MONTCLAIR, NJ - Tim LeCras, the sports editor at TheAlternativePress.com, appeared on a panel on NJTV News with Mike Schneider on Thursday night to discuss the future of hyperlocal news coverage in the wake of the mass layoffs that took place at Patch.com on Wednesday.
Joining LeCras on the panel were two former editors at Patch, Mary Mann and David Chmiel, each of whom had an optimistic take on the future of TAP's business model for hyperlocal websites, which espouses a grass-roots, bottom-up, entrepreneurial approach that contrasts with the top-down model that Patch's parent company AOL employed when it launched five years ago.
"People should not stay away from hyperlocal because of Patch's troubles," Mann said. "I think this really is the future, and finding the right business model, no one has yet--perhaps The Alternative Press has."
Chmiel saw the opportunity that TAP gives businesspeople to become franchisees as a key difference between The Alternative Press and Patch, which grew exponentially in its first couple of years and then, some believe, collapsed under the weight of that rapid growth.
"It (TAP) allows people to be franchisees," Chmiel said. "So now there's that sense of ownership. (At Patch), we didn't have the franchisee's ability to own what we were doing."