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Summary:

Layoffs have reportedly begun at AOL’s hyperlocal news community Patch, and could affect up to half of Patch’s 1,000-person workforce.

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It looks as if the promised layoffs at AOL’s hyperlocal news network Patch have begun, and they could affect half of Patch’s workforce. AllThingsD reported Friday:

“Sources say AOL will immediately let go of about 350 Patch employees. Up to 150 more will be told their jobs are in limbo while AOL tries to find other media companies to operate some underperforming Patch sites. If it can’t find partners, those employees will also be out of work.”

Jim Romenesko, meanwhile, reports slightly different numbers from a conference Friday morning:

“40 percent of the Patch workforce will lose their jobs today. (That’s about 480 people.)…[AOL CEO Tim Armstrong] said 60 percent of the Patch sites will continue, 20 percent of them will partner with other outlets, and 20 percent will be consolidated or completely closed.”

There are 900 Patch sites, and Armstrong said in the company’s earnings call last week that eliminating many of them will allow Patch to turn a profit by the end of this year.

More reports on the layoffs are likely to trickle out through the day, and I’ll update this post when there’s more info.

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  1. Hope the Martha’s Vineyard Patch is one of the ones to go. Whose crazy idea was it to give one person six towns to cover? And whose crazy idea was it to hire someone that didn’t live there? And then when they replaced her with a local and then another local, it turned out they didn’t know anything about their island home, misspelling business names and displaying total ignorance of local lore and customs. It went from harried clumsy reporting to covert plagiarism to surrendering to the better local media options available, which she now half-heartedly aggregates while waiting for her pink slip.

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