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September 21, 2010 at 07:00 AM EDT
AOL and Patch Launch PatchU, a Media Initiative for Colleges and Universities
Patch Partners with Leading J-Schools, Colleges and Universities to Prepare the Next Generation of Journalists with Real-World Experience; Thirteen Partners on Board at Launch

AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL) and its wholly-owned subsidiary Patch Media Corporation today announced the launch of PatchU, a new network of partnerships between local Patch online publications and leading journalism schools, colleges and universities to help prepare the next generation of journalists for successful careers. The initiative, which debuted this fall, offers internship and coursework opportunities at local Patch publications to students under the guidance of Patch’s professional editors. Thirteen schools across the U.S. are already participating in the program as members of the PatchU network, gaining first-hand knowledge of Patch’s products, teams, and systems, as well as exposure to the company’s hyperlocal business model.

“Patch is committed to building strong relationships with colleges and universities that are preparing the journalists who will define the new media landscape,” said Warren Webster, President, Patch Media. “Our continuing rapid growth gives us an incredible opportunity to provide cutting edge, real-world experience in various communities across the country to students who will become tomorrow’s editors and reporters, at Patch and elsewhere. We’re delighted to offer students the chance to learn alongside our outstanding editors and develop their skills in multimedia journalism at the community level.”

Building Relationships with Top U.S. Journalism Programs

Patch recently debuted the PatchU program at Hofstra University on Long Island, New York, where enrollment has begun for a fall/winter internship offered jointly by Patch and Hofstra’s School of Communication. Through the arrangement, students will gain course credit and practical journalism experience at Patch’s Mineola, NY publication, where they will be closely supervised and mentored by the Patch local editor for that community. Throughout the internship, students will work with a faculty advisor to ensure they meet learning objectives of the program. Students learn to pitch and write stories, cover local events, shoot and edit photos and videos, integrate content with social media and produce stories online using Patch’s leading content management system. The goal of the program is to equip students with the skills they need to be successful multimedia journalists and compete for jobs with the growing number of media companies that are looking for journalists in the multimedia space.

“PatchU represents a tremendous opportunity for students to gain experience with digital and multimedia skills that are now a fundamental part of journalism, regardless of specialty,” said Bob Papper, Chair of Journalism, Media Studies, and Public Relations at Hofstra University. “Today’s aspiring journalists have many channels to publish their content, but Patch is one of the few that can provide this type of digital training and offer traditional structure, discipline and professional feedback. As the media market continues to shift, it is important that the new generation train where the future lies, and it is exciting to see Patch investing in the hyperlocal model with such conviction for the long term.”

Participating PatchU partner institutions include:

  • Hofstra University School of Communication (founding partner)
  • The City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism
  • University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism
  • Missouri School of Journalism
  • University of Connecticut Department of Journalism
  • Indiana University School of Journalism
  • Stanford University Graduate Program in Journalism
  • Columbia College Chicago Journalism Department
  • University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
  • University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communications & Journalism
  • Seton Hall Department of Communication and The Arts
  • Quinnipiac University Department of Journalism

The PatchU model offers flexible program options to partner schools including internships for course credit in the fall/winter semester or over summer break, independent study projects, and unique professor- or class-specific collaborations. In addition, advanced journalism students not enrolled in a PatchU course are encouraged to earn money by freelancing for nearby Patch publications.

Journalism schools, colleges and universities interested in joining the growing PatchU network should contact the PatchU Program Manager at patchu@patch.com and are invited to visit http://mineola.patch.com to see the program in action.

Patch launched its 100th site in August and plans to expand to more than 500 U.S. neighborhoods in 20 states by the end of 2010. Patch plans to hire more than 500 additional journalists this year and expects to be the largest hirer of full-time journalists in the U.S. in 2010.

About Patch

Patch is a local content and advertising platform. Patch Media Corporation currently operates 186 community-focused sites serving towns in California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia. Patch is making an important investment in local journalism by placing professional journalists in each town it serves to encourage community participation and provide original, trusted coverage for each individual town. In addition to professional journalists producing original content, Patch is a platform for community members to comment on stories, share their opinions, post photos and announcements, and add events to the community calendar. For more information about Patch, go to www.patch.com.

About AOL

AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL) is a leading global Web services company with an extensive suite of brands and offerings and a substantial worldwide audience. AOL’s business spans online content, products and services that the company offers to consumers, publishers and advertisers. AOL is focused on attracting and engaging consumers and providing valuable online advertising services on both AOL’s owned and operated properties and third-party websites. In addition, AOL operates one of the largest Internet subscription access services in the United States, which serves as a valuable distribution channel for AOL’s consumer offerings.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=6437011&lang=en

Contacts:

Media Contact:
AOL Inc.
Caroline Campbell, 917-606-4772
c.campbell@teamaol.com
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