How am I supposed to get police reports from my old hometown?
The police blotter is pretty much the ONLY reason I read the local paper delivered to my parent's house when I visit. I even go to the website from time to time just to check up. I always get a giggle out of seeing kids I hated in high school getting busted for drug possession, DUIs, shop lifting, etc. Probably have seen six to seven ex-classmates in it so far after all these years.
Try your hometown newspaper website, if it has one. They actually live there, work there, report there.
There's the rub, my hometown newspaper - The Raleigh News & Observer is basically run out of the Charlotte Observer offices.
Indeed, community newspapers are the original "hyperlocal" news source.
The Patch sites near me are staffed by excellent but extremely overworked editors. I freelanced for one, then another, then a bunch of local sites and then back to one before being told freelance salaries were frozen. A real shame that this experiment didn't work out.
I am not sure why anyone thought this would work.
This is what AOL keeps doing: they'll try something half-assedly for not long enough, then dump it. They just can't wake up from their nightmare of having once owned the market and then lost it because they had no good ideas about what to do with it.
Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg stirs restlessly in his sleep.
I'm sitting here enjoying that moment of clarity that comes when someone manages to perfectly put into words something that until now had been just a vague idea in my head. I don't mean that sarcastically at all. I think you have perfectly summed up the reason for AOL's demise and the reason for their continued stumbling.
I am an elected official in a small-ish town, and our local newspaper is a joke. So when Patch came along, I was delighted, mostly with the opportunity to talk AND listen. The idea that people can express their opinions and feelings on issues should have made my decisions so much more informed and allow the village board to reflect the views and desires of the residents.
Problem is, all the stories on Patch are cut-and-pastes of the local crime report, and 90% of the commentators are blowhards who may or may not even live here. The amount of racism is appalling.
It seems like there's no real journalism happening at Patch — nobody's digging for stories or uncovering anything relevant at all. If you've got a garage sale to advertise, Patch is awesome. But if you want to find out what's happening in your community, Patch will not help you at all. It's been a real disappointment.
"90% of the commentators are blowhards who may or may not even live here. The amount of racism is appalling."
The comments sections of my local Patches quickly downgraded into troll pits, rumor mills, and soapboxes for bitter retirees and unemployed grouches.
When Patch launched, I wrote a few articles for my neighborhood's site. This Patch was pretty solid in the beginning, and a lot of well-know local freelancers were part of the founding staff. (Writers from LA Times, LA Weekly, etc.) Then, the company cut the editor in chief's salary, and she left. The replacement was disorganized and seemingly uninterested in quality. Even worse, she topped assigning pieces to writers and tackled almost everything of significance herself.
Needless to say, I bolted as soon as possible. It's been a bomb waiting to go off for a while now.