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Patch.com: Does hyperlocal news matter?

Posted by: | September 5, 2011 | No Comment |

Patch.com is taking hyper-local journalism to another level. The cities lucky enough to have a Patch site have citizens that are much more informed about the stuff going on in their backyards.

An artist from Fairfax City, Va. — for example — is on the verge of re-opening his art gallery after relocating due to his space being leased out. He was using the space thanks to the graciousness of a landlord who was trying to lease the empty, industrial-looking floor of his building.

Now that a lease has been signed, the Adam Lister Gallery must move.

Fortunately, the landlord had another space downstairs — and although much smaller, it offered the same industrial feel providing a “blank slate,” as Lister describes it. They were able to work out a similar deal for the smaller space and that is where the Adam Lister Gallery will re-open in late September.

So, who cares?

Well, maybe all of the students from two local high schools that Lister allowed to showcase their work, free of charge.

Maybe the elementary-aged children that Lister instructs in a summer camp every year would like to know the status of his gallery.

How about his fans? Or fans of the two other in-house artists that contribute to the gallery.

My point is people DO care about this stuff. Yet, this local news story probably wouldn’t garner any interests from the bigger media outlets in the area. This is actually a story I reported on for Fairfax City Patch.

Each Patch site has an editor with a freelance budget. A large portion of the journalistic contributions to the sites comes from the freelancers who cover anything from local high school sports to politics to crime beats. I have been freelancing for several Patch sites for almost a year and it has been an amazing opportunity for a journalism student in need of cash.

Before I began writing for Patch I was unpublished and inexperienced. I now have an extensive portfolio containing a wide variety of stories and feel comfortable reporting on just about anything.

Not only does Patch contribute to the community by bringing hyper-local news to your computer screen — it is helping me (and many other journalists like me) jumpstart a career in journalism. Writing samples I submitted from my work with Patch got me an internship at NBC4. Although my work there is done free of charge, I get the much bigger audience and exposure that a major media outlet can offer…thanks (in part) to Patch and the experience it offered.


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