Patch.com editor in chief Brian Farnham was among five guests on a panel about hyperlocal news in the Washington, DC area. The panelists were invited to speak about their news sites during “Hyperlocal Coverage: Neighborhood Blogs, Community Websites, and the Future of the News,” hosted by the National Press Club on July 14. The Press Club recorded the panel discussion and released the full video this week, see below.
Panelists included DCist editor in chief Aaron Morrissey; Matt Rhoades, co-founder and editor of Borderstan.com, a community news site serving the DuPont, Logan and U Street neighborhood; David Garber, publisher of neighborhood blog And Now, Anacostia; and Liz Bernard, who runs neighborhood blog Frozen Tropics.
I attended this meeting and during the question-and-answer portion of the talk, I asked Farnham to respond to the Authentically Local campaign slogan that “local doesn’t scale.” Here is his reply. You can also view and hear my question and his answer at the 1:00:41 mark.
Also, during introductions at the beginning of the session (at the 4:42 mark), Farnham said Patch aims “to be the hyperlocal platform for content, commerce and community. …It does not mean we are there to replace anything that already is there it means we are there to be part of that ecosystem. It’s really about filling needs we think are there and linking to the other solutions that are there.”
“I think it’s true. What they are saying [that local doesn’t scale]. … We’re trying to be as local as they are, that’s why we hire someone who lives and works locally. I think a lot of the criticism that has been leveled at us along those lines is nervous criticism in their minds — a big company coming in to squash the local player and that’s not at all what we’re trying to do.
“We’re tryingto be local in 849 different ways. … The other thing I can say on Authentically Local, it’s really not for us to say, it’s not for them to say, it’s really for the people of that community to say. If they are getting served the information they need, whether that is from a local entity that’s supported by a major corporation or an amateur who is passionate about it, that’s all that matters and people will vote with their feet.”
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