The layoffs AOL CEO Tim Armstrong promised began Friday, with an estimated 500 staffers — nearly half of Patch's workforce — losing their jobs as AOL cuts unprofitable sites from its money-losing hyperlocal news service.
AOL didn't give specific numbers, but told TheWrap it is "taking steps to move to profitability" and "there are sites that we will be consolidating or closing."
"The people leaving Patch have played a significant role in making Patch an integral part of the communities it serves – and we thank them for their hard work and passion," the statement concluded.
Media reports have placed the number of "people leaving Patch" at around 500. One of those is Ryan Martin, who tweeted that on the three-year anniversary of his job with St. Louis Patch, he was let go.
Another is Berlin, Conn. Patch's editor Robert Mayer. He wrote a good-bye post on that town's site, saying: "I got laid off today. I'm not sure what that means for the site going forward but they may leave it open for people to post and blog on. There will be no local copy coming from me. AOL has cut 40 percent of its work force at Patch and I am in that 40 percent."
Here's AOL's full statement:
Patch, as previously announced, is taking steps to move to profitability. Patch's strategy will be to focus resources against core sites and partner in towns that need additional resources. Additionally, there are sites that we will be consolidating or closing.
Patch has become an important brand across many towns in America. The Patch team across the country has served and will continue to serve communities with journalism and technology platforms. Unfortunately, with these changes we are announcing today, we will be reducing a substantial number of Patch positions. The people leaving Patch have played a significant role in making Patch an integral part of the communities it serves – and we thank them for their hard work and passion for Patch.