Updated Patch RI Contact Info

Where to send press releases, who to call for a story, who's running Patch Rhode Island.

As you've probably noticed by now, Patch in Rhode Island has gone through some significant changes as of late.

In the coming months, the site will be going through a major overhaul and redesign and we'll be slowly rebuilding our editorial crew to improve the amount of original news we're reporting from the towns we serve.

In the meantime, any and all press releases, story ideas, photos, news tips and any other information that you'd like to see posted on the Patch can be sent to me, Mark Schieldrop, editor of Rhode Island Patch.

My email address is: mark.schieldrop@patch.com

Call me at 401-515-3660.

Follow me on Twitter: @MarkSchieldrop

Right now, I'm the lone person managing all the Patch sites in the state and there's no question it's a big job, especially with so many important issues affecting each town we cover.

That's why I'm asking for your help. I can't make every town and city meeting, nor can I devote all of my attention on one town for very long before another issue demands attention somewhere else. 

If I'm missing something important, or if there's a great story that needs to be told in your town, please reach out and let me know. I'll do my best to follow through on anything and everything that comes my way.

With 15 Patch sites in Rhode Island, I have to be tactical and smart with my coverage and time management. Though I've been a journalist for more than a decade and know a good story when I see it, I'm going to miss things due to the fact there's so much happening across the state every day. 

That's why I need you to send me emails or call me to tell me when something is happening in your town and it deserves coverage. I spend time every day sifting through meeting agendas, calendars and other places to find out what's going on, but that's no replacement for walking the streets and talking to people. Each week, I spend time in most of the towns we cover to pick up police reports, stop by a small business or two and cover local events. I'd love to pencil in a stop by your place of business, your office or your event in those travels. So drop me a line and let me know!

I know that many Patch readers grew to depend on their local Patch for daily news and oodles of local information from their former local editor. There are many people who are disappointed in the changes and the loss of Patch staff. Trust me, I know. As the founding editor of Cranston Patch, I enjoyed my three-and-a-half years devoting 100 percent of my time and attention to that great city. I built a loyal audience who supports me, relies on me to get them the facts. While other media outlets swooped in and sensationalized the big issues in the city, I dutifully gave Cranston readers a calm, level-headed explanation because that's what they deserve.

That strong relationship between myself and my readers is what makes for a good Patch site. And the good Patch sites in Rhode Island benefited from the same kind of relationship. Though I can't give each site the same time and attention they might have had in the past, I am extending my hand and offering you the same dedication and loyalty I've given the city of Cranston since I joined Patch in 2010.

In the coming months, we should be making some exciting and important announcements that will better serve your community. In the short term, I'll be working as hard as I can to do as much as I can to serve you. I know that isn't good enough for some people, and to them I say I'm sorry. 

But over the past few weeks, I've had a lot of people contact me to express support and encouragement as well as sending me story ideas and tips. I appreciate the continued support.

A little about me:

I'm 35, married and the father of a nearly four-year-old girl. I live in Cranston and have been a journalist for more than a decade. Many people in South County will remember me for my time at the South County Independent, where I covered South Kingstown and Narragansett for years and years. I graduated South Kingstown High School in 1996. My mom and dad are hard working small business owners in Charlestown and we moved to Rhode Island when I was five. Politically, I'm neither liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat. I love writing about crime and police as well as features that attempt to convey the human condition. 

Thanks for reading. And thanks for the support.
Ginny Gorman February 24, 2014 at 07:23 AM
Mark, wish you luck & hope you can get tech support to fix the sign in to blogs. I've had a blog for awhile & now I can no longer sign into Patch. Tech support just kept telling me to do what I was doing & it never worked. From N.Kingstown & would share local info which now I can't do at all. If the infrastructure doesn't work right, you will be challenged! Wish you luck, Ginny Gorman, ribythebay@gmail.com
Jack Baillargeron February 24, 2014 at 07:48 AM
Ginny@ Not sure if this applies. I had a similar problem for a few weeks. I had to uninstall Internet Explorer in the end and re-install it. I figured it out by using FireFox to sign in which worked fine well IE would not. IE can be uninstalled by going to control panel, programs and settings. Then click on show updates. Find the internet explorer update, right click and uninstall. (this will roll it back to the previous version and you will not lose and info. Then go to windows update and the newest version will show up and you can re-install it. Note I had to do it 2 times before it worked right again. Microsoft does not answer as to why it happens. It only affected the patch sign in. May work for you. I would try the other browser first though (firefox. It is free and you can just uninstall it after you try it to see if it is IE. Firefox is a good one to learn and use however since it is much faster and more secure than IE. Just a thought ;-}.
ginny gorman February 24, 2014 at 07:59 AM
Jack, i use Google Chrome..never use IE anymore so I appreciate it...tried it all as tech support recommended clearing cookies,etc. It won't recognize me at all. Use Firefox a bit and tried there too without luck..I don't have the time and they should have this working better! thank you
nancy February 24, 2014 at 08:08 AM
Much success, Mark! RI's the smallest state - with the most news!! ;) All the best.....
Jack Baillargeron February 24, 2014 at 08:12 AM
Ok Ginny just a thought. Yea clearing cache, cookies etc rarely works. But it is the first thing on the list tech support uses. Though you are correct it could be the site as it seems there have been many glitches. I hope they get back to paragraphs being enabled in the comments again also. That went away after the last revamp. Chrome is good also for the most part. I just don't like its intrusive collection of info sent to google. Too long to go into that though lol. Editors have no control over the code glitches. The main company will have to handle it, though it is possible local servers could have a glitch doing that to some people. That also would require a reload at maintenance time probably.
Renee Cwiek February 24, 2014 at 08:12 AM
Ginny, I have that problem too. I use Google Chrome as well. I found that If I use the Google Incognito window it works fine. Have you tried that?
ginny gorman February 24, 2014 at 08:22 AM
thank you Jack...so frustrating when you want to share news for ones North Kingstown community! Renee, I had not...just did and I got in! thank you so much...now I hope I can post again...
Renee Cwiek February 24, 2014 at 08:23 AM
Great! Glad it worked for you!
Jack Baillargeron February 24, 2014 at 08:31 AM
Your welcome good luck ;-}
Mark Schieldrop (Editor) February 24, 2014 at 08:52 AM
Thanks for the helpful suggestions in here, Jack. Down the road, the Patch platform will be browser agnostic and a lot of these issues will go away. In the meantime, if someone can't get something to post after multiple attempts, you can send me the info and I'll get it posted for you one way or another.
NK Parent February 24, 2014 at 09:48 AM
What does that mean about all the other loyal local editors? It would nice to know who is gone and who is still around (if any) even in a smaller or different capacity. That said, it would have been REALLY NICE to allow any editors who have since been let go to at least say goodbye to the communities they were actively involved with. Their abrupt dismissal doesn't leave with with much hope for the future of the Patch but I'd love to be wrong.
Jack Baillargeron February 24, 2014 at 10:01 AM
So your saying Mark, "we can neither prove nor disprove the existence of a working browser" ;-}. Of course "Believe it when I see it" works also. ;-}
Melissa Martin Ellis February 24, 2014 at 10:05 AM
Welcome Mark. I am amazed to hear you are juggling so much work. I've been involved with newspapers in one capacity or another for many years, so am fully appreciative of your efforts. Best of luck.
Yvette M Ayotte February 24, 2014 at 11:28 AM
Renee Cwiek February 24, 2014 at 11:42 AM
Mark, a block option like on Facebook would be a wonderful addition to the site.
Alicarn February 24, 2014 at 11:43 AM
So it seems that Patch has gotten rid of all or most of their paid staff and now is looking for free ways of getting stories?
Bjorn Wellenius February 24, 2014 at 12:17 PM
What's the story? The Patch could have had the courtesy of advising readers of forthcoming changes. In North Kingstown we had reliable local coverage with active presence of the editor and reporting on important events. Now we have you shared with 14 other towns?
Mark Schieldrop (Editor) February 24, 2014 at 12:19 PM
Alicarn - not at all. I'm letting people know where to send the things they've always sent. And yes, there were layoffs because we need to be stable financially to keep operating. John B - we will let you know about changes to the site before they happen. I will be paying attention to NK. I hope everyone realizes that nobody was laid off just for the heck of it. Anyone who has run a business can relate to that situation. I won't be covering things all by myself, nor will we be keeping staffing like this forever. Some people seem to believe that laying off everyone was just some wonton decision with no regard for their lives. That is not the case.
Bill the 1st February 24, 2014 at 12:54 PM
For what it's worth, Patch has been going downhill for a while now. When they did the last major redesign, they broke one of the best features. Specifically, I'm referring to shared comments on cross-posted items. A "regional" or state-wide issue/article/etc. would show up and then be cross-posted on all the State Patch sites. Comments from any site would show up on the article, creating an active discussion. After the redesign, each cross-post was unique and all the comments were only visible on the specific Town Patch where the comment was made. I sent this in as an issue through the Contact/Tech Support link and got absolutely no reply. It seems like they may have fixed this issue a couple months ago, but over the past 12 months, user comments have dropped and over the last 6 months, content has dropped. Now that the local editors have been canned, the only content is a National "trending" article which is either purely a puff piece or a controversy-baiting article about gun control or whatnot. Sorry, but the Patch is dead. Put a white sheet over it. If you (the company) can't turn around a site redesign with content in months, you're toast.
Bill the 1st February 24, 2014 at 12:56 PM
Oh, and I forgot to mention random disappearing comments; Arbitrarily deleted comments; Login issues; Mobile browser issues; etc.
Jack Baillargeron February 24, 2014 at 12:56 PM
I think it is kind of sad to be blaming anyone local with what happened. Address to AOL who was losing millions of dollars on the whole patch network. Can't blame the new company Global, at least not yet. Restructuring takes time people. As for asking for help on stories of local interest? That has been the patch's creed since it began. No media outlet can exist with out the average person helping out by calling in to TV, newspaper's etc. Happens all the time. Repost from other media outlets is something people complain all the time about on here. Not everyone subscribes not watches all of them. So I find it kind of nice it is on the site. It also helps with people signing up to these sites which is what determines the Advertisers will to pay when they are given the site numbers of hits. Frustration is inherent in on the net with new sites, or management change no different than a new restaurant opening under new management. Takes time to get on their feet. Mass layoff is nothing new for that either and many are hired back after a time if they want to work for the restaurant again. A few of the editors did post goodbye's thanking the readers and commenters. That's a personal decision. I found most of those editors I have known from seeing then at town Council or board meetings were very caring about the local issues. Hope that will happen again. This could become a great local forum but it is dependent on those who use it as much as those who will be running it. That is my opinion on all this. Just saying.
Jack Baillargeron February 24, 2014 at 01:02 PM
PS; I do not think some of the questions can be answered by this editor for the obvious reason that they require a personal opinion sometimes and that would ruin his credibility of being unbiased. Same for e-mail answers from him. Most companies in the media have strict guidelines on such responses by employee's. ;-}
Jack Baillargeron February 24, 2014 at 01:20 PM
Renee; A block feature would be very nice indeed ;-} Along with paragraphs in the comment section again on post for those of us who ramble ;-}.
Local Bargain Jerk February 24, 2014 at 05:29 PM
From the newspaper of record: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/30/business/media/aols-struggling-patch-unit-has-more-layoffs.html
Mark Schieldrop (Editor) February 24, 2014 at 05:36 PM
That story is old news by now. It's no secret AOL no longer owns or operates us. That is the past.
Local Bargain Jerk February 24, 2014 at 05:51 PM
It may be old news to Patch employees, but it's not old news to many of the Patch's readers/users. I posted that link so that some of the facts could be more widely available. The link below contains some info that is considerably more depressing (e.g., in Connecticut, the Patch's staff was reduced from approximately 100 to approximately 5): http://www.businessinsider.com/massive-layoffs-at-patch-they-put-a-bullet-in-its-head-today-2014-1 Nothing has been the same since the ill-advised format change made to the Patch last Fall.
Mark Schieldrop (Editor) February 24, 2014 at 05:58 PM
Oh yeah, the platform change last fall was . . .not quite as great as we had hoped. That's being fixed. But this thread is more about how people can get info to me, not necessarily a review of Patch's very-public saga as an AOL entity.
Jack Baillargeron February 24, 2014 at 06:56 PM
Mark; A good piece might be something from Global Corporate on its plans for the Patch now and the future. Just saying
Somewhere out there February 24, 2014 at 11:54 PM
I wish you well Mark, but unfortunately I do not expect Patch to be a functioning news outlet by next year. Expecting you to cover the news from almost half of RI is absurd, so even calling it "functional" right now is a stretch. I should clarify that I don't mean that just the RI Patches will cease to be. The whole thing is going under. If sticking you with 15 sites is their idea of a business model, I think the whole house of cards is coming down sooner rather than later.
Mark Schieldrop (Editor) February 25, 2014 at 10:00 PM
Let's touch base in a year and see where we're at.


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