January 30, 2014 at 6:00 AM
Hyperlocal website Patch.com, which has had a heavy presence in New Jersey since 2009, saw "at least 80 to 90 percent" of its employees nationwide laid off on Wednesday.
According to Forbes.com, Hale Global, the company which earlier this month bought controlling interest of the hyperlocal website from AOL, laid off possibly upwards of 400 editors and reporters across the nation on Wednesday. This, on top of the layoff of between 300 and 400 employees last summer, when AOL still owned Patch, has left the news website with a very uncertain future.
Jim Romenesko, writing at BusinessInsider.com, suggested that nearly 75 percent of Patch's sites are likely to become "zombie sites" with no staff of their own. Content is likely to be relegated to what would, in effect, be community bulletin boards that merely aggregate regional news from other websites, with no organized or formal news reporters driving local content anymore.
Local Patch readers might not notice the difference right away, since the sites are not likely to actually "go dark," but the lack of any updated news items will soon become apparent.
Patch has had sites throughout northern and central New Jersey, in communities that include Summit, New Providence, Berkeley Heights, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Westfield, Warren, Chatham, Madison, East Brunswick, Livingston, Caldwell, West Orange, South Orange, Millburn-Short Hills, Montville, Sparta and Maplewood--all communities that are still served by TheAlternativePress.com hyperlocal news websites.