Working at AOL's Patch

"We are all completely 100 percent mobile," she tells me. "At any given time I’m carrying around in my backpack a laptop, a camera, a video camera, a voice recorder, a traditional pen and paper, a mobile Internet card, a smart phone, and assorted chargers." She checks her pack. "A press pass," she adds. "A police scanner—it’s not that heavy, I get used to it. When I was in journalism school I carried most of this stuff around with me to classes.

"Part of my job is being visible and accessible. It means I’m working in coffee shops all over my coverage area. I have a big Patch sticker on the back of my laptop, so when I’m working people can recognize me. Since my site is so young it’s a mix of curiosity—’What is Patch?’—and ‘Oh, you’re the Patch girl. You look much younger.’ I didn’t explode on the scene, but I’ve found that as people discover my site they like it. And they come back."

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