Wednesday, March 24, 2010

AOL's Foray Into Nonprofit Journalism

Big, pathbreaking news from AOL. The company announced this afternoon that its Patch Media subsidiary is launching a nonprofit subsidiary,, to provide hyperlocal coverage to underserved communities.

According to the announcement: " will partner with community foundations and other organizations to launch Patch sites and bring objective local news and information to communities and neighborhoods around the world that lack adequate news media and online local information resources."

This is a significant development because by creating a nonprofit hyperlocal operation to match its for-profit cousin, AOL gives us proof of concept that nonprofits can complement for-profit media by delivering value that for-profits cannot. We've seen the dynamic at work in other cases -- but usually when a nonprofit hands over a story to an independent, for-profit partner that no longer can afford to do all the enterprise journalism that it would like.

AOL gets it. And that's refreshing.

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