One hundred is a good number. It signifies a large quantity of something and in Patch.com's case, represents the amount of towns we're located in across nine states in America. Quickly, AOL's baby has become a major force in journalism and it's not uncommon for terms like "revolutionary" or "game changer" to be tossed around when speaking about Patch.
Sachem Patch was entirely my idea. It breaks the traditional company mold of covering one hamlet or village. In this case, since the towns in Sachem really are represented by the school district and its name, this idea for a 24/7 digital news source for Red, Black & Gold Country makes sense. Couple that with the simple fact that there has never been one news source specifically for the Sachem community, an area consuming one of the biggest school districts in the northeast, and we've struck gold.
Many still think this is my personal site, and don't realize I'm a journalist employed by AOL. Regardless, the community has embraced the idea of Patch and positive emails pour in everyday, giving me a clue that my desire to help this community is paying off. If I haven't stressed it enough, being a Sachem native and graduate, this is both and honor and privilege to serve the community with daily news.
It's hard to believe the site only launched March 18, 2010, because it certainly seems like I've been covering the community for a decade – and in many ways I have with the multiple stories and research projects I've taken part in regarding Sachem in the past.
This column isn't just about Sachem Patch, but about the parent company in which this site falls under. Patch is the way of the future. Community journalism is what the public needs and wants. Time and time again folks are more enthused about the car accident that happened around the corner than what's going on in Albany, the Middle East or half way across the country.
In just five months Sachem Patch has produced over 850 articles of content geared specifically towards this community. The site has attracted more followers on Facebook and Twitter than any other Patch site in the nation. Just last week I was interviewed by Howard 100 News and the clip played on the Howard Stern Show. It was for a feature I wrote on Sachem grad and Stern Show writer Sal Governale. To think, we're only getting started.
If you're not familiar with Patch as a whole, check out these interesting facts:
- Patch was founded in February of 2008 in NYC
- The first Patch sites launched simultaneously in Maplewood, South Orange and Millburn-Short Hills, New Jersey in February 2009
- The company was acquired by AOL in June 2009; AOL has since invested $50 million in Patch
- We're now in nine states
- Since the first Patch sites launched we have collectively produced over 55,000 articles and nearly 1 million photos
Sachem Patch's top stories
These stories either received the most page views, most comments or email feedback ...
- Holtsville's Amy Fisher Turns to Porn: The Holtsville resident makes headlines again, this time as she signs a deal to make pornographic films with Dreamzone Entertainment and her own production company.
- Howard Stern Show's Sal Governale Hails from Sachem: Sachem Patch features Governale with an in-depth feature about his life before and during his time on the Howard Stern Show.
- Sachem Coaching Legends Gather: For the first time since they retired, the six winningest coaches in Sachem history gathered for a reunion at Sachem North. Sachem Patch set it up and hosted the special event.
- Kevin O'Reilly's Fight for Extreme Makeover: This feature talks about a strong student at Sachem East who has undergone a great deal of physical stress recently. It talks about his fight and the community's quest to get his family on ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition.
- Billy Alvino Living the Dream: Sachem East's Billy Alvino plays in the Detroit Tigers' organization. This is a feature about his life and early career in professional baseball.
- WSHR: More than Just a Radio Station: No other school radio station on Long Island can boast the amount of wattage WSHR does. It's one of the biggest scholastic stations in the country and has a terrific history.
- 1935 Holbrook Train Accident Remembered: Not many know about the horrific train accident that took the lives of two sisters back in 1935. Sachem Patch uncovered the details and reported on something that happened over 70 years ago.
- One Family's Story of Bullying: A controversial story, this feature tells one family's bullying problems in the Sachem Central School District.
- Doug Shanahan's Jersey Retired: One of the best athletes Sachem has ever seen, Shanahan had his lacrosse jersey No. 26 retired this past spring. It was a great honor for a great individual and Sachem Patch was there to capture it all.
- Vic Latino: From Sachem to World Famous DJ: A radio entrepreneur like no other, Vic Latino is a broadcast mogul. He got his start at Sachem and is proud of his roots.
- Inaugural All-Sachem Patch Team (Spring 2010): Sachem Patch got started right away with sports coverage last spring and didn't drop a beat in honoring the district's top athletes at season's end.
- Sachem Patch Athletes of the Year (2009-10 school year): The same goes for major awards like Patch's Athletes of the Year. Check it out to see who won if you don't already know.