Osama bin Laden killed: The view from Patch

The killing of Osama bin Laden created a challenge for all media organizations in the land. The news, after all, broke late on a Sunday night, when many reporters and editors were snoozing, either literally or figuratively. Everyone felt as if they were playing catch-up.

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A scene from 'Locals React to Death of Osama bin Laden' on Studio City Patch.

Yet the struggle to fashion coverage took on an added layer of complexity for Patch.com, the network of AOL hyperlocal sites that cover community news around the country. Earlier this year, AOL merged with Huffington Post, creating a hybrid local-national-international news monster. In a note on the transaction, HuffPo honcho Arianna Huffington wrote that combining forces would enable her to push forward with her goals of launching killer local coverage as well as international coverage, among others.

Well, the shooting of bin Laden in a well-protected compound in Pakistan provided a proving ground for both of those Huffington goals: You got a major international event with implications across communities from coast to coast. Journalism conference-goers would call this "localizing," and if Patch is to thrive, it needs to do it well. 

Herewith a rundown of the patchy performance of Patch sites in handling the big story. 

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