AOL’s much-discussed hyperlocal network Patch is in the midst of changes at the top of its masthead. Editor-in-Chief Brian Farnham, who had been with the company for four years, announced during a conference call this week that he would be leaving. In a blog post about the move, Farnham said he wanted to go back to working at a startup, and that Patch was no longer really in its early stages. Farnham evidently won’t be replaced, as Rachel Fishman Feddersen, who joined the Patch team as chief content officer in February, will instead take over full editorial responsibility for the network.
Here’s a look at some of the coverage of Farnham’s departure:
“I’ve never worked for a company that has been as scrutinized, criticized, and coal-raked as this one. … We have critics on Wall Street, critics in the media, local critics, national critics, the business press, the journalism reviews, bloggers, etc. There are so many that I’ve come to think of them as a single large, screechy, off-key band called BI and the Haters. It’s music to kill yourself by.” (Brian Farnham, Patch)
“While a Patch spokeswoman reiterates that this was ’100% his decision,’ it should be noted that AOL recently hired a chief content officer for Patch, in effect knocking him down to the No. 2 editorial person there.” (Jeff Bercovici, Forbes)
“Some outlets may spin the departure as Farnham and Feddersen being unable to work together, but the truth seems to be that Farnham succeeded in what he set out to do at Patch and missed the startup world.” (Noah Davis, Street Fight)
“Farnham’s imminent departure raised questions about the future of a once highly touted hyper-local news and community site that reportedly lost $160 million in 2011 alone.” (Eddie Chan, Reuters)
“Farnham has plenty of good things to say about Patch in his leaving, including the claim that ‘Patch is enjoying such palpable momentum as a business.’ Then why does this feel like Patch is taking another beating?” (Molly McHugh, Digital Trends)
And here’s what the Twitterverse had to say on the announcement:
“Good note from departing EIC of Patch. Huge respect for what he/team built.” (@JebReed)
Isa Jones is an intern at Street Fight.