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More News Competition Edges Way Online Into MontCo

COLLEGEVILLE PA – From the 1880s through the 1940s, according to quilting historian Barbara Brackman, “The Perkiomen Valley Patch” referred to a quilt sewing pattern found primarily in Southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The patch became so famous it was documented in a book titled “Lest I Shall Be Forgotten,” by Goschenhoppen historians Nancy and Donald Roan.

The competition's getting fierce.

The new take on The Perkiomen Valley Patch is scheduled to arrive today (Monday, Dec. 6, 2010), 70 years later … and online.

It’s the name of what is being described as “a hub of local news and information for and about the Perkiomen Valley,” intended to cover most of the municipalities within the Perkiomen Valley School District: Collegeville, Schwenksville, and Trappe boroughs, and Lower Frederick, Perkiomen, and Skippack (PA) townships.

The Perkiomen Valley Patch will be located at perkiomenvalley.patch.com, according to an e-mail distributed Wednesday (Dec. 1) from The Patch.org Foundation, its sponsor and primary funder.

The organization reports its mission is to establish local news websites in communities with populations of between 15,000 and 100,000 people “that are under-served by media and would benefit by having access to local news and information about government, schools and business.”

The foundation promises to employ a full-time journalist “who acts as reporter, editor and all-around manager,” and also plans to rely on contributors. It intends to accept news tips from the public, will sell online advertising to merchants and service providers, and said it is “dedicated to returning the profits from Patch.org Foundation sites back into the community.”

In years past, traditional daily newspapers like The (Pottstown PA) Mercury and The (Norristown PA) Times Herald, both of which are owned by the Journal Register Company, covered Perkiomen Valley municipalities somewhat exclusively. The Independent, a long-standing Collegeville weekly newspaper, did too until its demise, and the now-inactive “What’s The 422?” website published news from there for awhile.

Observers think the new competition should be interesting to watch, particularly if its pitch of “returning profits” appeals to community-minded advertisers.

Patch currently operates 12 separate community news sites in southeastern Pennsylvania, and reports that 23 more are expected to launch in the near future, including those for Phoenixville and West Chester. That’s where two other Journal Register papers – The Phoenix and The Daily Local News, respectively – call home.

Illustration from GetReligion.org

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