NEW YORK, Aug. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Patch, an Internet company dedicated to community-specific news and information, today announced the launch of two new websites serving the communities of Summit, New Jersey and Darien, Connecticut. The media company also announced the hiring of Scott Colontonio as the company's first regional publisher, who comes to Patch from Gannett Digital, where he was director of Digital Advertising Sales.
"We are thrilled to be launching in Summit and Darien, and look forward to providing these towns with the same quality and professional news and information on which Patch users have come to rely," said Warren Webster, who was recently named president of Patch. "With the launch of these latest sites and the addition of our first regional publisher, we are firmly positioned to continue our mission of improving the quality of life in the communities we serve."
Each Patch site leverages its proprietary technology platform and serves as a hub of local news and information for and about the community it serves. Users will have plenty of opportunities to comment on stories; share their opinions; post photos, videos and announcements; and even add events to the community calendar.
Each site has its own editor -- a full-time professional journalist dedicated to the community. Darien Patch will be overseen by Cecelia Smith, a lifetime Darien resident who graduated from New York University with a degree in journalism. Summit Patch will be lead by Heather Collura, a New Jersey native who has worked as a reporter for a number of community newspapers in the state. Both editors will be aided by and manage a team of contributors that will provide everything from reports on high school sports and city government to coverage of events and interviews with members of the community.
Like all Patch sites, those in Summit and Darien are free to use and offer a comprehensive events calendar, restaurant reviews and a rich directory of all of their respective community's important places. The Patch sites serve as a town resource for everything a resident would need, from finding a dentist or an activity for the kids to the name of the official to call for a building permit.
Patch is an unparalleled resource for local businesses, providing free business listings, maps, product information and even photos of businesses and organizations around town. Patch offers a two-tiered advertising system that allows business owners to create a do-it-yourself online ad; and it has a sales team that will work with individual businesses to best satisfy their needs.
Underscoring its commitment to community, Patch has two initiatives that facilitate giving back and getting involved. First, each Patch site has a dedicated area that helps local charities and willing volunteers to find each other. Second, with a program it calls "Give 5," Patch dedicates five percent of its ad inventory as free advertising space for local charitable organizations while its staff donates five full paid days of its own time each year to volunteer in the communities Patch serves.
Scott Colontonio is a local advertising expert who brings a wealth of experience to Patch as the company builds out its local advertising strategy. At Gannett Digital in Westchester County, NY, Colontonio ran digital advertising sales for sites such as Lohud.com, and local versions of Cars.com, CareerBuilder, Homefinder and Apartments.com. He managed a multi-million dollar budget and developed and implemented local sales strategies for search, video, rich media, social media, and mobile platforms. At Patch he will help set and implement advertising sales strategy, in addition to serving as regional publisher for all Patch sites in the NY/NJ/CT tri-state area.
"I'm excited about joining the innovative team at Patch," said Colontonio. "Patch is emblematic of the media's online evolution, and it's the logical next step in my career. The interplay between reporter, reader, and advertiser is changing rapidly, and it's invigorating to be at a company that understands how that dynamic is changing, and where it's going."
Acquired by AOL in June 2009, Patch (www.patch.com) is a community-specific news and information company dedicated to improving the lives of their residents through high-quality local information. Each Patch site leverages Patch's proprietary technology platform and combines original professional journalism and user contributions to deliver the information most important to its community - from government, sports and school news to events, announcements and volunteer opportunities. It is advised by an editorial board consisting of the leading minds in online and community journalism including Phil Meyer and Jeff Jarvis. Patch currently operates sites serving the New Jersey towns of Maplewood (maplewood.patch.com), Millburn-Short Hills (millburn.patch.com), Scotch Plains-Fanwood (scotchplains.patch.com), South Orange (southorange.patch.com) and Westfield (westfield.patch.com); and New Canaan (newcanaan.patch.com) in Connecticut. Additional sites will soon launch serving Cranford, Ridgewood and Summit, NJ; and Darien and Wilton, CT.