Jul 27, 2014
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Patch 101: A Primer

Some answers to some commonly asked Patch questions.

Patch 101: A Primer

Reston Patch has been around for 15 months now, and thankfully, we have many thousands of readers who turn to Patch for their local news.

But I am still getting some common questions many times over. I have answers:

Q: Why am I being directed to yesterday's news? Shouldn't you have posted this story ahead of time, Einstein?

A: Of course Patch posted the story ahead of time. Many people believe Patch is only a daily newsletter emailed to them. It's not!

Patch is first and foremost a website. That means it is updated constantly. Typically, about seven stories a day will post on the site, most often between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

So when you get the newsletter, it is news that posted in the last 24 hours. So if it says, for instance, "RA Holding Meeting on Thursday to Talk About Indoor Tennis," that story was likely posted at 7 a.m. Thursday, giving you time to decide whether to go to the meeting. If you are reading the headline in the newsletter, than it is already old and the current story (i.e., "RA makes no decision on tennis center") is probably already up on the site. 

To stay totally current, you can do several things:

1. Bookmark http://reston.patch.com on your computer and check the site several times daily.

2. Download our iPhone app to your iPhone and check it often. It will always have the top five items in real time in the headlines.

3. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter. We usually link to every story as soon as it posts.

So in newspaper terms, if you are reading the newsletter to get to the news, it is already yesterday's news. It's still newsworthy, but remember, it was "printed" in plenty of time to be useful; you are just choosing to read it too late.

Q: I live in North Reston and my kids go to Herndon High. I am insulted by your lack of coverage of Herndon.

A:  Because South Lakes is located in Reston and because the majority of the kids in Reston attend South Lakes, South Lakes does get higher priority on Reston Patch.

Goings on at Herndon High are under the directon of Herndon Patch editor Leslie Perales. We try and feature every story pertaining to Herndon High on Reston Patch as well. Sometimes we miss one, and I apologize.

Also, I do not do the assigning of stories about Herndon High. If you have a story idea or news tip, feel free to contact Leslie at Leslie@patch.com. You can also visit that site here

Q: You gave my annual event fabulous coverage last year. This year you were nowhere to be found. What gives?

A: When Patch started in summer 2010, we were a new site in a new company and had a rather large freelance budget.

Over a year later, we are on a different path - one that is leaner, less freelance-oriented and headed towards trying to make money. We're learning what the community wants to read about and what works on Patch sites.

That means a pared-down staff (of one, me) that can only be in one place at a time. We have to be much choosier about what we are going to cover or pay someone to cover. 

But fear not - there are ways to get your event covered anyway. Feel free to post information to our free events calendar or our announcements page. If you think your event is newsworthy, send me an email (kareng@patch.com) with some basic info and attach a few pictures. In most cases, we will be happy to post it so the rest of the community can read about it too. This is called User Generated Content. Patch is intended to be somewhat by and for the readers. Help us out!

Have any more questions? I can answer them. Drop me a line at kareng@patch.com.

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