Arlington, VA

Former Arlington Patch editor Jason SpencerJason Spencer, the editor of the Arlington, McLean and Clarendon-Courthouse-Rosslyn Patch websites, has been laid off, effective today.

Spencer, who started at Clarendon Patch in May 2011 before taking over Arlington and McLean as Patch began losing staff, is a casualty of Patch’s mass layoffs, which were announced today. The 900-site hyperlocal news network is restructuring under new owners Hale Global, which is in the process of acquiring majority control of the business from Aol.

The Patch sites Spencer had helmed will still be operational, but its unclear at this point who will be running the site and how the site will cover local news, if at all.

“Today will be my last day at Patch,” Spencer wrote on Arlington Patch’s Facebook page. “For those of you I’ve worked with over the past (almost) three years, it’s been a pleasure. Arlington has been a great place to get to know and to cover — it certainly was a social and political 180 from the community I had previously covered in South Carolina! And thanks to the readers who have kept us going.”

The editor of the Alexandria and Del Ray Patch sites, Drew Hansen, was also let go today. Media watchdog Jim Romenesko reports that somewhere between two-thirds and 90 percent of Patch editors across the country were let go today.

Photo via Twitter

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The Clarendon-Courthouse-Rosslyn Patch web site is looking for a new editor.

Former editor Christian Pilling left the site last month, about five months after it launched. He is now working for a media technology start-up in Brooklyn, N.Y.

A job listing for the site was posted on Monster.com 11 days ago.

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Internet giant AOL is rolling out a local news site devoted exclusively to the Ballston-Virginia Square area. The Ballston Patch will launch on September 13 with a paid, full-time editor at the helm.

As we first reported in February, AOL has been planning on launching dozens of its Patch local news sites in the DC area. Then in May, we noted that the company was hiring editors for two different Patches in Arlington. A “Rosslyn-Court House-Clarendon” Patch may still be in the works, but so far it’s not listed as “coming soon” on the Patch web site.

Over here at ARLnow.com, we’re taking the competition for neighborhood news in stride. So we want to know: what sort of stories in the Ballston-Virginia Square area should we cover that we’re not already covering? What events should we be adding to the events calendar? Please let us know in the comments section.

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Almost three months ago we broke the news that AOL was expanding its network of Patch local news websites into the D.C. area. Last week, the Washington Post picked up the story, noting that AOL was posting dozens of help wanted listings on jobs website Simply Hired.

A search of those listings reveals that, so far, Patch is not seeking editors for an Arlington site.

Among the listings are editor positions for a “Rosslyn-Court House-Clarendon Patch” and a “Ballston-Virginia Square Patch.”

Patch is also coming to some communities around Arlington. Simply Hired lists editor positions for Patch sites in McLean, Falls Church, Del Ray, Old Town Alexandria and Georgetown.

Patch will be entering some small markets that are already covered by multiple dedicated news outlets.

Arlington is served by the Sun Gazette and the Arlington Connection weekly newspapers and this website. Falls Church is served by the Falls Church News Press weekly newspaper and the Falls Church Times website. Georgetown is served by The Georgetowner biweekly newspaper and The Georgetown Dish website.

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Coming Soon to Arlington

We’re hearing about several new businesses that may be coming to Arlington.

  • A new sidewalk cafe is in the works for Clarendon. A company called Boxed In, LLC is petitioning the county for a special exception use permit for an outdoor cafe at 3171 Wilson Blvd, a currently vacant storefront between Eventide Restaurant and Clarendon Ballroom. The county board will consider the proposal during its meeting on March 13.
  • Clearwire Wireless Broadband is coming to Arlington and the greater Washington area. The 4G WiMAX mobile broadband service provider is requesting permission to build “telecommunication facilities,” presumably base transceiver stations, on several Arlington apartment buildings. The county board will consider use permits for facilities at the following addresses: 4241 Columbia Pike, 1200 S Arlington Ridge Rd, 333 South Glebe Rd, 5100 8th Rd S. Clearwire’s investor relations web site says the company expects to roll out service in the DC area by the end of this year.
  • Patch, the community news arm of internet giant AOL, is coming to DC. The company is currently recruiting editors for DC area sites, according to a source. No word on which local communities would get their own Patch, but Arlington, with its 210,000 residents, high per capita income and wealth of distinctive neighborhoods, seems like a ripe target. Silicon Valley Insider reported this week that AOL is planning to expand Patch from the current 30 local sites to “hundreds” of sites by the end of 2010. Some analysts say Patch’s expansion has the potential of hurting independent hyperlocal news operations (like this web site).
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