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AOL Starting Hyper-Local Sites, Begins with Manhattan Beach

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AOL is launching a new neighborhood news service called Patch. It's hyper-local to the core, as they just hired a full time editor to live and breath Manhattan Beach day in, day out. Soon they'll launch a Redondo Beach version and so on, apparently. This type of reporting is much needed and if successful like Eric Richardson's blogdowntown, where city council agendas are scrutinized and development news is broke, this will be exciting. Kevin Roderick at LA Observed, however, has a note of caution: "the difficult trick on coverage of small cities is to be knowledgeable without becoming a tool of the city officials, politicians and community leaders who care more about favorable coverage and avoidance of controversy than about accuracy or independence." Currently a feature piece on the MB portal is a piece about parking meter rate hikes.