How to Adopt Your Hometown Patch

Every journey begins with a first step. Join the new Patch in taking the first steps in a national movement to rebuild and reboot the Patch community network from the ground up. We want to team up with locally focused individuals who are motivated to highlight the people, places, events and stories that make their communities unique.

Patch's Local Guide Pilot Program and a new digital platform, we're creating an opportunity for local people to lead a Patch community and help celebrate, inform and improve their hometowns. We'll give you the tools to develop a role in civic life by connecting your neighbors to information about your town's people, places and events. Be the first to tell them about new businesses. Celebrate local awards and accomplishments. Share news about people who need help. Guide them to news about important civic matters. 

You can do all this and more as a Local Guide.


» tools to reach a local audience through an easy-to-use publishing platform optimized for local search

» delivery of a daily email newsletter to thousands of subscribers in your town

» a large and growing social media fan base on Facebook and Twitter

» Patchy gear to share as you make introductions with your fellow residents

Learn more in our Q&A.

Q: How do you become a Local Guide? Who are you looking for?

A: The ideal candidate is a civic-minded, sociable resident with a writing background who wants to share the stories of his or her town and guide community conversation. The person must be knowledgeable and curious about the people, places, events and news that make the town unique. If you've ever wanted to create a blog about your town, this could be your opportunity to do so — with our support.

Q: What does a Local Guide do?

A: Guides post community-specific information, focusing on people, businesses, schools, agencies, events, clubs and the like — the threads that knit a community together. Guides must avoid agenda-based, political content, and placement of stories by someone offering compensation or favors. You'll find more information in our Grassroots Principles agreement.

Q: I enjoyed the Patch when it was operated by our local editor, who seemed to be everywhere all the time. Are you expecting me to be all that?

A: Chicago's local editors were some of the best in the country. They built an impressive audience and produced great work. But the business model did not come close to covering the cost of that effort, and Aol sold Patch. We are pursuing a new Patch, with the desire to

engage the community more directly. We believe in Patch's original mission — to connect and inform local communities — and a town's residents are the most important part of that.

Q: Are there rewards or incentives for participation?

A: What we learn during this pilot program will help us figure out how to offer a rewards system. The Patch you grew to appreciate and love the last four years was a financial disappointment on a national scale. Our goal is to create a program that allows people to achieve stature and rewards through their participation. This is a new effort, and there's a lot we need to learn.

Q: Will training and resources be provided?

A: We will provide instructions and tips, including ways to access information about what's going on in town. Guides may contribute in the following ways:

» create useful, informative community announcements

» take photos in town and post them to Patch

» promote contributor posts through social media and placement on the home page

» interact with users in the comments sections, keeping conversations positive and constructive

» send local news tips and breaking news alerts to staff editors

Q: How much time will be involved?

A: By nature, the people who participate as Guides will be sociable and involved in the life of their town. The investment of time in leading their Patch community will depend on the person. One might invest an hour or two per day. Another might devote several hours in a day to his or her Patch community. 

Because this is a new effort for us, we'll be asking you along the way what you're doing and how. What we learn in Illinois will help us figure out if this will work in other states.  

Since Patch's inception in the Chicago area in 2010, people have embraced Patch as a community resource and rooted for us. More than 2.6 million unique visitors land on a Patch every month in northern Illinois. We've gone through many changes in that time. And we'll go through more. 

We're committed to making Patch a vibrant place filled with local voices, news and useful information.