The LA Times published a softball appraisal of AOL glocal news behemoth Patch this weekend, which attributes the site’s take-off to the recruitment of “seasoned news veterans.”
Patch’s first round of hires were fresh journalism school graduates who quickly burned out or turned over, James Rainey reports. Three South California-area Patch editors quit less than 8 months on the job.
Replacing them are older writers and editors (many of them former LA Times staffers) who bring “writing chops and savvy.”
The subtext here is that the only people willing to work Patch’s reported 70-hour weeks for $30-50,000 salary (Raines reports this is less than half of what LA Times editors make) are mid-career journalists coming out of early retirement brought on by newspaper layoffs.
According to Belmont Shore Patch Editor Nancy Wride, it’s not about the money, anyway:
“I didn’t take this job for the salary,” she said said. “I took the job because I believe in it. I saw it as a way to serve the neighborhood, to be able to be a mom and have almost total autonomy in how I run the site. I can do hard news or fun features and work with a team of people that I hand-pick.”
Many journalists surely relate, but it’s not as if AOL is a non-profit. Won’t AOL executives make ten times Wride’s salary by selling her community investment? But then, maybe we’re just another entitled, lazy millennial.