When we started our journalism career in the late 1980s we slugged it out with other hungry coeds for the few slots open at the local paper. A better time was never had – headlong into the Romantic World of Newspapering, we were. Assigned lightweight stories, we tried to turn into much more than they were in hopes of getting attention and even a Page 1 position. (We should also mention this was when we first used a modem to transmit text of the college paper to the print shop – a sort of magical event in those days). FF a couple decades and the print side of the news business is the same: filling holes around ever-fewer ads. And they are still looking for free(ish), energetic college kids to not only pick up the scraps but also learn to create a better future of journalism. Enter stage center in a puff of magic smoke: PatchU from Patch.com.
You’ve likely heard of Patch.com, the latest effort by Aol to capitalize on local+online to = the saving of news while garnering a tidy profit. They’ve rolled out something like 100 city sites, and as you might imagine it takes a lot of bits to feed that beast, which is where PatchU and its college kids (quasi stringers) come in. PatchU is endeavoring to bring in students from a growing list of colleges to help expand the network and learn a thing or two. We’ll watch how it goes and report back if anything interesting ensues. Overall, cynics aside, it seems like a great opportunity for journo students – the ones who are left that is. (Disclosure: We helped launch and edit the first local online sites for AOL in the mid 1990s.)
This post originally appeared on Locl.ly.