AOL Cuts Hundreds Of Patch Jobs; MN Impact Unknown

The online news provider has 25 websites in Minnesota, and it’s unclear whether they will be among the 400 nationwide that will be sold or closed down.

AOL’s hyper-local news network Patch confirmed during a Friday conference call that hundreds of planned layoffs and site closures will occur this week.


According to Patch’s website, it has 25 news outlets throughout Minnesota. However, it’s unclear whether they will be among the sites being cut. A Patch employee who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Twin Cities Business that the changes could mean entire states being eliminated from the Patch network.


The source at Patch said that AOL CEO Tim Armstrong told 1,000 Patch employees during Friday’s call that hundreds of employees will be laid off in the coming week.


Apparently, Armstrong started the layoffs before Friday’s call even concluded, turning to an employee who took his photo and ordering, “Put that camera down…you’re fired.” The firing was an effort to prevent any possible leaks, the source said.


During the Friday call, Armstrong reportedly told employees that 400 of Patch’s 900 sites will shut down or partner with other sites.


TechCrunch reported that between 200 and 550 workers would be affected by the layoffs, citing unnamed sources from AOL. The site also reported that Bud Rosenthal will replace Steve Kalin as Patch's CEO.


Armstrong first disclosed plans for cuts at Patch during an earnings call with investors earlier last week. He said then that AOL had already decreased Patch's costs by 25 percent this year and expects to trim more costs going forward.


He went on to lay out his plan to close, sell, or find partners for about 300, or one-third, of Patch sites in order to make the local news network profitable by the end of the year.