The Patch approach of hyper-local news hubs debuted today on the West Coast with the unveiling of a site devoted to Manhattan Beach. Another is planned soon for Hermosa Beach. Each Patch site has a paid, full-time editor and a crew of contributors who feed items about city government, local news, restaurant reviews and various events. The sites offer community calendars, reader comments and get involved with local charities. We'll see how it goes: the difficult trick on coverage of small cities is to be knowledgeable without becoming a tool of the city officials, politicians and community leaders who care more about favorable coverage and avoidance of controversy than about accuracy or independence.
In Manhattan Beach the editor is Andrew Kersey, who has a master's from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and has been an assistant editor for the New Canaan Advertiser in Connecticut, a reporter for the New York Post and Columbia News Service, and a writer for San Francisco-based Performer Magazine. Sara Catania, who wrote the Run On blog for LA Observed last year, is a regional editor for Patch in Los Angeles.