Patch Editor Meeting Modest, but Contributions from Readers Valuable

Only one Patch reader showed up yesterday at the announced Meet the Editor, but several messages received that same day made it a valuable exerise

Healdsburg Patch’s current editor (that’s me) held an open meeting at A Bean Affair yesterday afternoon, and while only a single person showed up it was a valuable experience – for that, and other reasons.

Grace Ouchida dropped by to introduce herself as a relative newcomer to Healdsburg, formerly of Venice Calif. She’s a certified acupuncturist who has offices above Shelton’s Natural Foods, in space occupied for many years by a dentist.

I helped her set up a new business listing, which should be appearing in the Patch Listings directory shortly. Ironically we found it to be a more complicated process than I anticipated – the “Add a Business” link does not appear on the top Directory page, where we first looked for it.

Instead we found it on the bottom of the directory listing for her category, Health. The link is called Add It and it’s at the bottom of every directory category, though not on individual listings, and will place your new listing in the category from which it’s listed. Meaning, the Add It link above will add a new listing in the Health category; if you have a Bakery or Gardening Service or whatever,  you should try to locate the appropriate category first, then Add It.

Ouchida also talked about an article about her new business, perhaps combined with the other health-oriented businesses in the same second story above Shelton’s, including massage therapists and the new location of Healdsburg Yoga, formerly on Healdsburg Ave. I suggested they all have listings in the Directory, and perhaps plan an open-house as an Event we can then announce it and hopefully cover it.

But several people who did not show up communicated with me afterward, and again several interesting points were raised. A couple people, including Ron Douglass of Healdsburg, said they received the announcement of the open meeting too late.

The reason I wasn't there, however, relates to what I find most frustrating about the Healdsburg Patch: the timeliness (or lack thereof) of many of its articles. Some, like this one about your Bean Affair get-together, come too late to be useful. Altho the article had a nominal 4/17 date on it, it didn't get to me until Thurs AM 4/18, and I didn't actually see it until late in the afternoon.

It seems that Ron, and a couple other people I spoke to at last night’s reception at the new Shed (photo gallery forthcoming later today), rely on the morning email newsletter for their insight into what’s going on with Patch. But the newsletter is a compilation of articles published over the previous 24 hours, so of course certain events, announcement and news will be “dated.” We’ll discuss this as regional Patch editors at a coming meeting, and see if we can find a solution.

Another point that came up was some people’s reluctance to add comments to a Patch article when they feel moved to do so. There is a perception that Patch asks too much of readers who wish to add a comment.

The ONLY requirement to add a comment is to be logged in and registered. The only requirements for registration are your name, an email address and a password, which you supply (and we don’t know). We do not ask credit card information, street address, sex, age, occupation or any other information of a personal nature. If you are asked for this information at any point or from a link on the Patch website, it is not our requirement – you may have inadvertently clicked on an ad or other links.

Here’s the basic official Privacy Policy for Patch; you can read the full policy at this link, and we advise you to do so.

In order to register for the Service, or in connection with other uses of the Service, you may be asked to voluntarily provide us with certain personally identifiable information, such as your name and email address ("Personal Information"). We do not collect Personal Information from you unless you voluntarily provide it to us.

I hope this information is useful to readers, and look forward to our next open meeting – to be publicized further in advance, of course!

Thanks for your comments and support.

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zoe moire April 19, 2013 at 09:26 PM
A. Did not know about your "event" B. This article is more about the one person that did show up - good advertising.....? C. Agree, news comes in very late and an editor needs to be on TOP of what's going on in this town ... everything from school events to Garden Club happenings. D. Mike McGuire typically posts after an event / or during -= around Sonoma Co. with pictures ... this is not so bad because it is usually a specific group he is working with, however, I think he also does a good job of "...hope to see you there..." - I don't see that on the Patch any longer. E. When questions are asked like (paraphrase): "Wow, breezy out there. Anyone see any trees down?" It is rather like the Patch editor has not been outside looking about - why not comment on a few things and then ask the readers. F. Most of the questions have been boring... but, if reporting is done first, then people would likely be more inclined to even open an article and take a peek. My 6 cents. Z
Kevin J. McCann April 20, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Although I received your invitation notice in the morning I was unable to attend because of planned activities. However, I think it's a good idea for you to do and thanks for initiative. The Patch could be a good idea however, for me, in addition to local community events and activities the articles have to offer objectivity. If you have a political and/or ideological scant I would discontinue to be a reader and thus not a contributor or letter writer. I think open discussion is good and that conflict is good as it could be about positive change however, I have many too many activities to occupy my time. 1. My question to you is as the editor what is your vision for Patch and at this point what is your plan to accomplish that vision. Societies large and small are looking for people with vision and mission. I am not suggesting you write your vision because the readership will see it soon enough. 2.What is Patch really? 3. What is the criteria to inspire you to write an editorial? 4. What makes Patch different from the other online newspapers? Christian, I would suggest that you encourage discourse but set up a few basic ground rules. I prefer that all communication be courteous and civil but being comfortably edgy is OK. You should reserve to right to pull any vindictive commentary/communication. How about a section or column with interviews with people who are doing interesting things outside the realm of Healdsburg events. Good luck!


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