AOL Huffington Post Media Group announced Monday that it is launching 33 new sites in New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina—the first three states to hold primaries in 2012.
In addition, Patch has announced the launch of the first Patch Military site: Camp Pendleton Patch.
“With its hyperlocal focus, Patch has the ability to be the eyes and ears for what is happening at the grassroots level all across the country,” said Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of AOL Huffington Post Media Group.
“By expanding to key primary states, Patch positions itself squarely on the front lines of the presidential campaign and will be able to deliver a real-time snapshot of how pivotal communities are reacting to candidates—as well as immediate feedback on whether the issues that matter most to these towns are being addressed.”
Huffington said that Patch Military is a “particularly satisfying new offering” by offering military families, who move an average of once every three years, an easy and familiar means of keeping up with what is going on in their communities. A Patch on or near their base gives them a platform for directly sharing news and information with neighbors, she said.
The 33 new primary state sites will reflect the traditional Patch model of local news, information, and community interaction, the company said, including the impact of national and state issues on the local landscape heading into the 2012 election season. Instead of a “horse race” approach to reporting, the sites are designed as a non-partisan forum, using Patch's team of local professional journalists to cover the issues in play.
“Primary state Patches will empower citizens to consume and share election information in some of the most politically engaged areas of the country,” said Warren Webster, president of Patch Media.
The Camp Pendleton Patch—not sponsored by the base—will cover both the Marine Corps community there and neighboring Oceanside, Calif. The site’s editor, Jared Morgan, is a former U.S. Marine and a current member of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the National Press Photographers Association, and the Society of Professional Journalists.
Patch debuted in a handful of communities in 2009 and launched its 100th site in mid-2010. Gig Harbor Patch debuted in late December, and 14 Patch sites now exist in the Puget Sound area.
There are now well over 800 Patches in 18 states and the District of Columbia.
Later this year, Patch will also launch three sites as part of its recently announced Patch Latino initiative, with dedicated coverage of topics of special interest to the Latino population. All editorial content on the sites will be in Spanish.