9:48 p.m. UPDATE- the new regional editor referenced below at end of post actually responded to me. Yes given the way contacting Patch before was like a black hole of nothingness it was a surprise. Anyway, he said he was sure it was a “mistake.” As of a few minutes ago or so it seems like my account is back, but I am not sure if all my comments and/or posts are. I will let you know. I am pleased this new guy seems responsible as a Regional.
I went to sign into my Patch today because a lady I comment back and forth with responded to me on a Malvern Patch post where I had commented the other day. Ironically, I had even been complimentary to the editor Nate Adams because it is one the first real news posts I have seen out of him on Malvern Patch. But when I went to log into Malvern Patch, I got this:
Yes, my account was deleted. Mind you I have had a Patch account for years. As a matter of fact, I used to be a freelance photographer for Ardmore Patch on occasion between 2010 and 2012! I even contributed to Radnor Patch.
I thought, wow, this couldn’t be possible, surely this is a mistake. So I cleared out my browser and tried logging into other Patch sites like Ardmore and Radnor. Nope. Same message.
It has to be that. And here’s the rub: there was no reply to my e-mail I sent him on September 29th asking how coverage was determined these days and expressing my concerns that local news wasn’t being covered for West Chester or Malvern. Mind you there were other Patch people on that e-mail and none of them responded either.
So I posted the e-mail openly on Patch. It had a LOT of comments from Patch readers who felt pretty much exactly the SAME way as I did.
But now, that post and every comment I have made on ANY Patch site over a few years along with my original Patch account have been deleted.
There was no e-mail sent to me telling me to simmer down or I would be deleted. No e-mail sent saying ANY comments were being removed because I violated some terms of service. Nothing. I was simply erased.
And while that is their right because it is their site, is that what a true editor does? Is that what a media outlet does? Lordy, look at the comments left on major metropolitan media outlets – print, radio, and television.
But no, because I criticized Patch and the current editor rather than dealing with it, I was simply deleted. That is not journalism.
So I wrote to the new regional editor who has apparently replaced the former regional editor. His name is Tim. I told him how I felt about it flat-out.
I re-registered with Patch. I fully expect Nate Adams to delete that account too. I guess I am somewhat stunned at the lack of professionalism. However, to that end, I have been told by many that I shouldn’t worry about Patch as a local media resource and hyper local news outlet because they are all faltering THAT badly. As in it is only a matter of time.
Time will tell. In the mean time, consider this a cautionary tale: Patch editors don’t respond to criticism like real media professionals. And to those who will say that bloggers do that with comments, yes we do, but our blogs are our own. I am not owned by AOL Time Warner. I am not owned by a large corporate entity who pays me to be an editor of a hyper local news site. These Patch editors are compensated media professionals and should be able to handle themselves better as well as actually do the job they are paid to do.
Sign me amused. I love the smell of the First Amendment on a cloudy fall day.