AOL could lose up to 500 employees as it begins Patch cuts

Up to 500 jobs are at risk as AOL begins making cuts at its Patch unit.

The redundancies could see the local news network’s 1,000-strong workforce cut in half, with 350 employees being cut immediately and a further 150 left in limbo as AOL looks to secure other media companies to take on underperforming Patch sites.

Around 540 of the 900 current Patch sites will be kept by AOL, with these sites generating around 90 per cent of Patch traffic. The remaining sites are to be ‘consolidated’ or sold to partners.

AOL’s public statement reads: “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 sites 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.”

One Patch local editor who has spoken online said: “The current situation is distressing. We know there will be layoffs and sites closed, but we are all wondering which. There is talk of severance, which helps, but this is a lot of people potentially out of work and competing for jobs with one another.”