Monday, December 13, 2010

A New News Source for Laurel

Laurel Patch, an online local news source is now available on the web at  AOL’s hyper-local news network called "Patch" now has over 500 community web sites.  Laurel's Patch is one of the latest to go live today. 

“Yes, you read that right: 500 different websites, all with the same look and general feel, but each one staffed by an editor devoted to writing about the people and businesses in that community,” writes Bizjournals.  AOL is planning on investing over $50 million on the Patch Network in an attempt to capitalize on the dearth of local news web sites.

We have two local newspapers in town.  Well, we really only have one, the Laurel Leader.  The Gazette quietly shuttered their Laurel operation earlier this year and clumps Laurel's news in with Beltsville, College Park and other communities in the northern part of the county.  And let me be honest, the Gazette really never committed the resources necessary to serve our community well.

Editor Melanie Dzwonchyk and her plucky band of journos at the venerable Laurel Leader cover our fair city quite well.  Unfortunately, they are saddled with a web site from their publisher that is so lame and old fashioned, it looks like something invented by the late Senator Ted Stevens.  In spite of her lame web site, Dzwonchyk has been posting breaking news online and on Twitter. 

So now we have another online local news source in Laurel.  A source with a modern web site, a commitment to getting the story online regardless of the day of the week, and with access to AOL's deep pockets.

Let the competition begin.