For those that follow AOL’s local-news network Patch, specifically TE Patch, there have been changes in the last several months, both personnel and formatting wise. On the formatting side of Patch, there’s a recent new look on the 900-plus Patch sites. Although the idea behind the changes was to make the site easier to use, I’m not sure if AOL was successful. For me, the jury is still out on the latest redesign.
On the personnel side of TE Patch, we saw the departure of Bob Byrne as the local editor. Bob was the founding editor of TE Patch and for those that knew and considered him a friend, it was difficult to see him leave.
As often happens in corporate structures, once an area is successful, they move whoever is responsible for that success to a struggling area of the company, in hopes that he/she can improve the situation. My guess is that is exactly what happened in the case of Bob Byrne. Known for taking the time to “find the story behind the story”, Bob quickly became a fixture in our community … he seemed to be everywhere. Whether it was Election Day, the opening (or closing) of a resturant or local business, the Board of Supervisors or School Board meetings or a local house fire, you could always find Bob, the ‘Patch guy’, in the crowd.
In early 2013, Bob was moved from TE Patch to manage and serve as editor of Havertown and Springfield Patches. No doubt he took over the two community Patches with the same enthusiasm and spirit as he had while covering the stories of TE. Bob’s replacement at TE Patch was Pete Kennedy, the Malvern Patch editor, who saw his territory extended with the addition of TE Patch. For the last few months, Pete juggled the duties of Malvern and TE Patches, with the issue of not able to be two places at once often interfering. Pete sent me a note last Friday — it was his last day with AOL, he was moving on to a new position with another company. (Pete also shared the exciting news that he and his wife are soon to become first-time parents!)
As Pete Kennedy exits our community as Patch editor, we are lucky to see the return of Bob Byrne this week to TE! Because I had followed Bob’s byline when he went to Springfield and Havertown Patches, I knew that corporate decision makers subsequently moved him to Phoenixville Patch and also West Chester Patch. Wherever his assignment, Bob’s work reflected the same level of enthusiasm in getting to know the people of that particular Patch community. In TE, we have missed his personal touch and willingness to go the extra mile with stories. Here’s hoping that in the case of our local Patch, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies and we can look forward to seeing Bob Byrne’s byline for a long time to come.