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Saturday, April 16, 2011 Great for Your Community, Great for Small Businesses

By Aaron S. Robertson

Have you heard of but haven't really investigated it yet and still wondering what it's all about? Or, maybe you haven't heard of it at all? Well, read on. You want to know about it. is a company owned by AOL and is broken up into multiple Web sites (by way of sub-domains), with each site serving as a news and information source for a specific community in the United States.

Each Patch site has a full-time editor in addition to a number of freelance writers. There are also regional editors.

In addition to serving as president of Intrepid Innovations, I recently became a freelance writer for Muskego Patch. I love community journalism, and I already have a few years worth of experience in my background with a traditional print newspaper here in Muskego, so this is a great fit for me.

Not every state is represented by, but new communities and states are being added to the Patch fold all the time. To see what states and communities already have a presence on Patch, simply check out the U.S. map on the home page.

There are already quite a few Patch sites representing Milwaukee-area communities, which I think is awesome.

These community news and information Web sites are great for everyone. For news junkies, they deliver breaking news and fresh content continuously throughout the day, something that traditional print newspapers and local TV news stations simply cannot achieve. For people who simply want to keep up on current happenings from time to time where they live, this is a great resource, since the big metropolitan newspapers often ignore daily life in smaller communities. Readers can also post comments under each news story, which keeps them actively involved and returning to the site time and time again.

For small business owners, each Patch site features a local business directory. Submitting information for the directory is simple and free to do. Posting classified ads and events is also easy to do - and free.

So now that you've been given a primer on what Patch is all about, check it out. This isn't just the latest fad that's eventually going to fade away. I really suspect that Patch is going to transform journalism here in the United States like never before.

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