Corey Butler resigns from Northfield Patch. What will the impact be?

Northfield Patch

Longtime Northfielder and Northfield Patch editor Corey Butler announced his resignation on his Facebook page earlier this week.

I got his permission to post it here and coaxed him into posing with me for a photo at the Spur this morning:

Corey Butler, Griff Wigley - Feb. 2013It’s with excitement and sadness that I inform those of you who care that I have resigned from Patch. I’ve accepted a job as the communications coordinator for the Minnesota Society of CPAs, a not-for-profit organization with 9,400 members. I’ll be responsible for developing, editing and coordinating the MNCPA’s print and electronic publications, social media, some event planning/execution and working with the media (fielding calls and pitching stories).

It’s a great move for me as I focus on my long-term career goals and look for a new challenge. I greatly enjoyed my time with Patch, especially getting to know so many wonderful people near and far in the company. Most of all, I’ll miss working with so many great people in Northfield.

You can continue to follow Corey on Twitter @CoreyButlerJr.

Will the AOL-owned Patch replace Corey with another Northfield-based editor? If not, what might it mean for the other hyper-local media organizations in Northfield? I’m guessing that the Huckle Media-owned Northfield News is happy to hear the news of Corey’s departure, as he built Northfield Patch into a formidable competitor for local news-related pageviews. (He had worked for Huckle/Northfield News/Faribault Daily News for 2.5 years prior to launching Northfield Patch.)

But Northfield Patch never appeared to put much of a dent into the local advertising dollars currently going primarily to the Northfield News, KYMN Radio, and the Entertainment Guide, so I don’t see any substantive revenue shifts.

Northfield.org

The real opportunity, it seems to me, is for NCO’s Northfield.org to step into the void, especially when it comes to Patch’s Local Voices section. Corey nurtured an ever-growing list of regular Northfield-area contributors (good example: Myrna CG Mibus) who might thrive in the local group-blog environment of Northfield.org.  The site really could be so much more than a community events calendar and blog/tweet aggregator. There are new Board members on the way, I’m told, so I’m holding out hope that new blood combined with the old will seize the day.

12 comments to  (Including 3 Discussion Threads) Corey Butler resigns from Northfield Patch. What will the impact be?

  • 1
    Griff Wigley says:

    I’ve made a couple of small edits to the blog post. If you’re curious, contact me.

  • 2
    Arlen Malecha says:

    I wish Corey well in his new position. He has done an outstanding bulding Northfield Patch into a much welcomed news site in Northfield. Northfield Patch is the first news site I check each morning as I start my day.

  • 3
    Jane McWilliams says:

    We’ll be lucky if they find a journalist as good as Corey! He made Patch the valuable asset it is . . . and which we need!

  • 4
    bonnie pangburn says:

    Oh No!!!! Corey, of course we wish you the best in your future endeavors, I appreciate that you have a young family, this is your necesary choice and we only want the best for you all. AND/BUT…can you help to advertise the criteria required or mentor someone or lead us in the direction of another dedicated, capable soul so that we don’t have to succomb to the metered northfield news process, please!

    Thanks for your great representation. Again, I wish you only the very best!!

  • 5
    Griff Wigley says:

    Here’s Corey’s farewell on Patch, posted earlier in the week: Thanks for the Support, Northfield.

    For those of you who have ever chatted with me, you know I can, at times, be long-winded.

    So I plan to make this short—at least by my terms.

  • 6
    Griff Wigley says:

    Anyone have observations on what Northfield Patch has been like since Corey’s departure?

  • 7
    Jane McWilliams says:

    My observation is that there is no local reporting . . . just as I feared!

  • 8
    kiffi summa says:

    Agreed …I’m about to unsubscribe.
    There’s also a tinge of sensationalism, instead of serious news updates; for example: what’s with the story of the death of a 26 year old Lonsdale woman ‘above the fold’ as well as in the Community Bulletin section below, where other deaths are noted?
    There have been other stories I found inappropriate for a NF specific audience, and when I wrote to the reporter, got a very unsatisfactory answer that did not really speak to the point raised.

    I had high hopes for Patch, and thought if anyone could bring off an online newspaper, even this minimal, it would be AOL, their parent company.
    But I don’t know what the focus, or oversight is… Is it just luck if your local ‘issue’ gets a skilled reporter?

    Guess we need to thank Corey Butler , again, for a good job…

  • 9
    Mary Schier says:

    Patch (AOL) is under intense pressure from shareholders to make a profit this year.

    It’s had a hiring freeze for some time and with fewer people, it has been going to more regional coverage. This works OK (not great, but OK) in places like Apple Valley, Eagan and Lakeville, but not at all in outlier sites such as Northfield. (I actually had to look up whether Dave Thompson covered a small corner of Northfield — he does — when that headline appeared.)

    We were all very spoiled by having a great news source in Patch and I doubt we will get anything like it in the future. Most people are unwilling to pay to subscribe to online news sources and organizations like Patch have had a hard time coming up with ad revenue to support such a labor-intensive endeavor. Unfortunately, it looks like we’ll end up with exactly the level of news coverage we are willing to pay for.

    • 9.1
      Griff Wigley says:

      Mary, the trend among hyperlocal online news entities seems to be heading towards the non-profit membership model where you get extra benefits (see, MinnPost members, Texas Tribune members).

      I’m not sure Northfield is big enough to make that work but I’m intrigued by the co-op model that’s being piloted by The Banyan Project in Massachusetts. I really like what I’ve read about it and as a member of Just Food, I like the co-op model.

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