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January 30. 2014 9:14PM

Web-only news sites are facing uncertain future

A national network of Web-only news sites laid off most of its staff of online journalists Wednesday, leaving the future of 12 sites in New Hampshire and hundreds of others in 23 states up in the air.

Patch.com, which began creating community news websites in 2007, laid off hundreds of editors on Wednesday just two weeks after the company was purchased from AOL by the investment firm Hale Global.

Neither Hale Global nor AOL would confirm dozens of social media posts from former Patch employees stating that as many as 80 percent of site editors lost their jobs at 900 sites nationwide.

Most of them were notified when they tuned into a conference call on Wednesday morning. In a recording of the call posted on soundcloud.com, Patch COO Leigh Zarelli Lewis is heard telling the employees on the line that Patch is being restructured.

“Hale Global has decided which Patch employees will receive an offer of employment to move forward in accordance with their vision for Patch and which will not,” she said. “Unfortunately, your role has been eliminated, and you will no longer have a role at Patch, and today will be your last day of employment with the company.”

New Hampshire has Patch websites for Amherst, Bedford, Concord, Exeter, Hampton, Londonderry, Merrimack, Milford, Nashua, Portsmouth, Salem and Windham.

Of the 12 sites, only the Concord site had a working link to the editor’s email as of Thursday morning, suggesting the editors of the other 11 sites are no longer with the company.



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