Chester County is a big place. Not all areas of Chester County have much media coverage at all. I am going to zoom into where news matters most to me: the areas of West Chester and Malvern. I am also going to zoom in on one “media” outlet in particular: AOL Patch, the self-decried innovators of “hyper-local news”. (And FYI there are many all over the country critical of Patch.)
When I first started reading Malvern and West Chester Patch a couple of years ago I was impressed. They were actually living up to AOL Patch’s mission statement or whatever of covering local issues important to residents, in other words they were actually doing hyper-local news coverage. At that time they had a terrific regional editor and hard-working individual site editors.
What has evolved to present day is somewhat disappointing. Quite a few changes in individual site editors and a regional editor who sees big news as things like what the best diaper is. Not that diapers aren’t important to moms everywhere, but are they hyper- local newsworthy?
Malvern and West Chester is a fairly large area to cover with multiple municipalities representing zip codes 19380 and 19355. I want to acknowledge that up front. But it seems to me that news in West Chester and Malvern is not being covered and that is not good.
Many Municipalities out here in these two zip codes do not have any televised meetings even if they could if they wanted to. So we depend on local and hyper-local media for coverage. And I don’t see this gap coverage on Patch. What I see is a lot of fluff and things re-posted from other Patch sites that are not necessarily newsworthy.
There is a lot going on out here, and while no media outlet can cover everything, in my humble opinion they should be covering a fair representation of news in the communities under the “Malvern” and “West Chester” umbrellas.
What was the impetus of this post? Not just one thing, but a culmination of many things.
Take for example a recent article from Abington Patch cross-posted in Malvern Patch on September 16th titled Forty-Six Parishes Under Archdiocese Scrutiny. This article was basically a republication of a Philadelphia Inquirer report. Furthermore, Patch references affected parishes in Bucks, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties. Not one word about CHESTER County, so what was the point of putting this on Malvern Patch?
And then there is the STILL uncorrected spelling error in an obituary headline. I wrote about that on September 18th I found it so sloppy and disrespectful to whomever the deceased was.
There are many other examples I could cite as disappointing, but I won’t. You all get where I am going.
Do you think Patch has lost its way?
What do you want to see coverage of?
My list includes (but is not limited to) coverage of local meetings and issues facing residents, information on candidates for upcoming elections, real coverage of local businesses, meaningful profiles of residents doing terrific things, and coverage of local sports that is not borrowed or regurgitated from other sources.
It would also be helpful to see our local Patch editor out and about covering some things, because as it stands I do not see where this guy has actually visited our communities. And face it, if you are going to cover us in a hyper-local manner you have to get out and explore. And face it, Chester County has a lot of cool things to cover in addition to local government and other issues which may not be considered so positive.
At the end of the day, I would like to see Patch in Malvern and West Chester to once again cover where we live. They have employees being paid to do this, right? Why can’t they cover the area like Radnor and Tredyffrin Patch sites do? And if AOL Patch has changed and will no longer be covering where we live, it would helpful if they just said so.
Also to consider is what is the future of journalism? Once upon a time we thought it might be AOL Patch.
Thanks for listening.