But I can honestly say that in my 12 years of covering towns for different media outlets across the state, my time at Patch is the most unforgettable.
The reason is unlike any other job I’ve had before, I actually felt a part of the communities I served. I covered a lot of them, too.
University Place. Lakewood. Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Gig Harbor.
As the first person Patch ever hired in Washington in 2010, I was proud of the association with these communities. I felt honored to showcase the different faces and personalities that make up these towns.
And I was excited that the other Patch editors and I helped take these towns into the uncharted territory of hyperlocal journalism, at least for West Pierce County.
Think about the term, “hyperlocal.” It describes what we did perfectly. We were in your communities, covering and posting content few others cared about, and we often did it at what seemed like hyper-speed.
We produced award-winning articles and videos that the community appreciated. Those communities, in turn, commented, shared and engaged in that content in a way like never before.
Since our inception, you turned these Patch sites into the community hubs that media types envision as the future of news.
Now, that didn’t necessarily translate financially into something sustainable, at least in its current form at Patch. A corporate restructuring was needed to make these sites viable, and that’s the reason I and other editors are leaving Tuesday.
Observers shouldn’t take that as a sign that hyperlocal journalism is a fad, because it isn’t. In neighborhoods, communities and towns across America, people want to read and talk about where they live.
So now the big question: Are the Patch sites going away?
The answer: An emphatic “No,” unless the communities let them.
You’ll still be able to blog and post about your communities, whether it be about a fund-raiser in Gig Harbor or garage sale in Lakewood.
You’ll still be able to comment on national stories and blogs. They will be your sites, run and powered by your engagement.
a Patch editor, I can happily say to our communities that these sites are all
yours. They will grow and thrive as long as you want them to.
As for me, the past week has been surreal, overseeing the sites knowing that a major change in my life was days away.
I started thinking about all of the things I had the privilege of covering.
There were the early days in University Place, when we launched with a video about the Bridge to the Beach at Chambers Creek Regional Park. We brought you award-winning stories of Tierra Crockrell and the state-championship winning Curtis girls track team.
In Lakewood and JBLM -- where we the fourth military associated Patch in the country -- we were delighted to bring you the stories of soldier homecomings and events. We vigorously brought you the coverage of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales’ trial. We brought you stories of business owners and countless students with the Clover Park School District. Remember the raccoon attack at Fort Steilacoom Park?
In Gig Harbor, we were there for sun-soaked community celebrations and told you anytime we heard of a new business coming to town. We tried to help you whenever there was an incident on the Narrows Bridge to help you plan. And the Facebook page. How can I forget the Facebook page? It was one of the most popular and heavily trafficked around.
Those are the things that make this farewell so bittersweet. While you have helped Patch evolve into what it is today, it’s hard not to think about where we came from.
You made this job incredible for me. I’m going to miss every person I ever encountered, whether via a story or e-mail or Facebook message.
Undoubtedly, I’ll never forget what we did here at Patch.
Thanks for the memories, and I’ll see you around town.