Ear lier this year, hyper-local news hub Patch reported it was not only surviving, but thriving.
While sites like Gothamist and DNAinfo close, the website has found a model that works for them.
In fact, in October, Patch CEO Warren St. John told Publisher’s Daily the site boasted an audience of 27.5 million unique monthly users, saw a gain 25% in new users each year, and employs 110 (now 154) full-time editors, writers and other staff.
The website, which has a presence in all 50 states, has continually seen a profit for 15 months straight and recently launched in Miami, Birmingham and Austin.
Now Patch continues its climb with an expansion into the Charlotte, NC, market, adding to its 1,200 communities. The Charlotte Patch will cover 10 local communities.
The Charlotte Patch is headed by veteran reporter and North Carolina native Kimberly Johnson, who began her career in community news before moving to Washington, D.C. There, she covered Congress and the federal government, then became a stringer in Iraq for USA Today and other outlets.
Johnson hopes to run more long-form journalism on the site.
“I reported for Al Jazeera America Digital, which gave me an opportunity to dig into important social issues through long-form reporting on topics such as race, poverty, education and policing,” Johnson says. “I see opportunity for that here in Charlotte, where the community, like most, continues to grapple with these same issues.”
Patch provides an outlet for local readers to post their own news items and events to a community calendar. The publication counts on reader feedback and participation, which ultimately creates a strong connection between the website and its visitors.
“Being able to tailor news to individual communities and adjust angles and stories based on reader feedback, fills a void that was missing in local Charlotte news,” she stated. “It’s not about sensationalizing a story, it’s about covering what impacts the daily lives of our readers.”