In the current climate of dying newspapers and shrinking subscription bases, local reporting seems to be a lost cause. One of the only large companies that has been seriously fighting for traditional local reporting is AOL, believe it or not. Their website Patch, founded in 2007, is a network of over 900 community focused websites.
Patch was the brainchild of Tim Armstrong, a former Google CEO and current CEO of AOL. It was inspired when he noticed that there was no online sources of information about events happening in his hometown. It was acquired by AOL just after Armstrong became CEO and was meant to bring AOL into the modern age and away from its roots of scamming elderly people out of their retirement.
Unfortunately, the experiment seems to have been unsuccessful for AOL. According to this article from Reuters AOL has surrendered control of Patch to a joint venture with Hale Global a firm that, according to the article, specializes in saving online media companies. This is after Patch was forced to lay off about 50 percent of their employees last summer to meet the financial expectations of AOL.
Looking forward, the future of Patch is uncertain. The new joint venture has not announced how it plans to right the heavily listing ship that is Patch, but rest assured how they deal with this will speak volumes about the future of local reporting and community beats.