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AOL Patch Lays Off Hundreds of Employees

patch1Hale Global, the new majority owner of AOL’s struggling network of Patch local news websites, has laid off the editors of more than two-thirds of its local news websites, according to media news site Romenesko. Some sources say about 80 to 90 percent of the local Patch editors were laid off.

Patch runs websites in Princeton, Lawrence, East Windsor, and South Brunswick. All the sites remained live Wednesday morning, but none of the main editor’s profiles for the four sites remained active. When the profile links were clicked, a message appeared saying “There does not seem to be anything at this address.” The profile for regional Jersey Shore editor Tom Davis was still active. A Patch source told Planet Princeton this afternoon that all of the local editors in our area were laid off, including Princeton and Lawrence Patch editor Greta Cuyler.

AOL announced earlier this month that it was selling most of its financial interest in the sites to Hale Global, a turnaround firm based in New York and Boston, Patch COO informed employees of the layoffs this morning in a conference call. Romeneko posted audio of the call on his website.

“Patch is being restructured in connection with the creation of the joint venture with Hale Global. Hale Global has decided which Patch employees will receive an offer of employment to move forward in accordance with their vision for Patch and which will not,” said COO Leigh Zarelli Lewis, according to the audio.

Business Insider reports that a source familiar with Hale’s plans for Patch says the network will shrink to 250 sites from nearly 1,000. The source says the 750 or so zombie sites will aggregate regional news.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • Mental Illness

    Tom Davis of Patch needs to be fired. He’s nasty, rude and arrogant just like the rest of the Former PATCH editors. Patch is unprofessional, this is why it cost millions of dollars and it failed and hale global is just as dirty as AOL. These people are evil. No good will come to them or Patch

  • SFB

    yep- seems I totally missed that! d’oh! Pretty sad. I won’t be surprised if the Packet is next.

  • krystalknapp

    Yes, as our story indicates, all the local editors were cut and a regional editor survived.

  • SFB

    Just heard from Greta and the news is 🙁

  • SFB

    I hope Greta survived…we need as much local reporting as possible. Recently our local Patch has been stretched pretty thing and the aggregated content is garbage, but I had the impression that it was attracting a reasonable community.

  • Blake Cash

    Does this go into the “Thank God I didn’t work for these subhuman lifeforms” file?

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