Have you ever been fired? I had not in all my working years. Ever.
Until yesterday. And yesterday, I got fired twice.
Okay, “fired” is probably not the right word, but I figured I’d lure you in with a snappy lead.
Yesterday I was among the majority, if not 100%, of freelancers who were cut from AOL’s The Patch when the company decided to “go in a new editorial direction.”
I got the first email in the afternoon from one of my editors telling me I was a budget casualty. The next one followed shortly thereafter from the other editor.
Where is the love? On Valentine’s Day no less. Another Valentine’s Day Massacre?
Apparently the handwriting was all over the wall and I was just going on my merry way oblivious to the impending changes at Patch. I googled it yesterday after I received the emails and found out that Patch was not making money, in fact it was losing money. After acquiring Huffington Post last year, this year they brought in someone new as the CEO of Content, or something like that.
If you aren’t familiar with the Patch, it sprung up several years ago under the adage of “hyperlocal” news sites that were the eyes and ears of the communities they served. With somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 sites across the country, the Patch had prided itself on its ability to get its readers the news on everything from board meetings, to police news, school issues, obits and events happening right now. Plus some nice little features and columns. Throw in the fact that Patch was an interactive site in that people could comment on anything, and you had a formula for success.
Though rumors are raging, my understanding is that the Patch organization decided to go with a more “cookie cutter” version of news where the sites would share regional news and forgo the “hyperlocal” format they began with. And since much of the local news and columns are written and reported by freelancers, they’d be the first to go.
Buh bye to me.
I heard about the Patch on Media Bistro or Journalism Jobs or one of those sites and was excited about it. My little town has one weekly newspaper that covers 11 towns in addition to my own. The city daily does the best it can for regional coverage, the proverbial word being “regional.” I was happy about the Patch and hoped that if it came to our neck of the woods, we could have daily news all our own.
When Patch did come here last year, I answered a call out for “mom columnists” Hey, I didn’t care what they called it, I was going to write articles again after a long hiatus.
So for over a year I had been a freelancer for two Patch sites. I wrote weekly features about kids going above and beyond, doing different things and being productive young members of our society.
It was awesome. I got to know a lot of great kids and hear about some of the tremendous things they are able to accomplish. The kids I featured ranged in ages from elementary school to about 20 years old and were involved in music, the arts, academics, civics, athletics, food, robotics, the church, you name it. I even did one on a kid who was a civil war reenactor. So cool.
It was easy work for me. Doing something you love and getting a little paycheck to boot? Can’t beat it. And I enjoyed it immensely. The perfect job for a writer-mom like me.
Sadly it’s over and I had to send several emails to the kids who were to be upcoming features and tell them, sorry. The almighty dollar trumps you, kid.
No I didn’t really say that, but I am feeling a bit sour about the whole thing. I really, really liked that writing gig.
Well, I guess I can look at it this way:
When one door closes, another opens up.
Good things happen to those who wait.
I will certainly have a lot more free time now. More time to blog, take long walks, volunteer in the kids’ classes, lunch with friends, bake cookies, write that book. Pet my dog. Watch my cat clean herself. Notice I didn’t say clean the house.
And then there is always Pinterest.
Well, off I go then.