The explosion of community sites, or hyperlocals, across the nation has emerged in smaller and mid-sized markets where many traditional news channels have disappeared. AOL's CEO Tim Armstrong also saw this demand in the market. Patch was their answer. Formed in 2007, Patch was purchased by AOL in 2009 and in March of 2010 the company announced they'd be investing $50 million in the build out of 500 sites by the end of that year. The number of Patch outlets operating by early January 2011 has been reported as more than 700.
Since the fall of 2010, Reynolds Fellow Lisa Skube has been looking at innovations in news and reporting with Missouri School of Journalism master's program graduate Tram Whitehurst. Here is the first of two posts offering what we've learned.