Layoffs begin at Patch; up to 500 employees could be cut: Reports

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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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