Oconee County’s Patch.com local news and information site is scheduled to go live tomorrow.
Jane Lee, the editor of the Oconee County site, said the plan is for the site to be made available to the public sometime between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
The Oconee launch will follow a successful launch of a site in Dacula on Dec. 17. A Barrow County site is scheduled to launch on Dec. 28, Lee said. The Athens site will launch after the first of the year, she added.
In all, AOL Inc., the web site owner, plans to launch 12 sites in the northeast Georgia region in coming months as part of the its national roll-out of the local web sites, according to Lee. Patch.com web site
Patch.com web siteshows the service as available in 19 states and the District of Columbia.
AOL Inc., formerly known as America Online, is attempting to move from being an Internet service provider to an Internet content producer.
The web site will be both “interactive” and “hyperlocal,” Lee said, distinguishing it from anything else available in the market.
It will contain news produced by Lee and correspondents working for her as well as materials submitted by the readers.
Readers will be able to contribute to a calendar, post birth, wedding and other types of announcements, and place advertisements for such things as garage sales. AOL will not charge for these postings.
The company will charge for some types of reader contributions, such as job posting, Lee said.
The site also will have a directory of local businesses and governmental offices. Businesses can pay extra for a larger listing, similar to what they do in printed telephone directories.
Readers will not pay for access to the web site. AOL plans to support the site through advertising.
At present, Lee said she has lined up seven freelance writers to contribute to the Oconee site. She said she plans to cover governmental meetings and post stories to the site upon the meeting’s completion.
The two Oconee County weeklies, The Oconee Enterprise and The Oconee Leader, have web sites, but both papers give priority to their print products, which come out on Thursday.
Many county meetings are at the front of the week, with the Board of Education meeting on Mondays and the Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesdays.
On Dec. 13, a Monday, both papers had reporters at the meeting of the Oconee County Industrial Development Authority and the Oconee County Board of Commissioners. The meeting was from 4 to 6 p.m.
Both included stories in their Thursday, Dec. 16 editions.
Neither paper put the story on its web site.
The daily Athens Banner-Herald also wrote about the story in its Dec. 16 edition and put the story on its web site.
Perry Parks, a Georgia regional editor for AOL’s Patch.com project, told me in October that he planned to hire a professional editor for Watkinsville and Oconee County in November.
Lee, 47, told me on Saturday that she has been living in Oconee County for a little more than a month.
She is a graduate of the University of Georgia (in classics) and has worked as a journalist in Thomaston, in Upson County, south of Atlanta.
Lee said readers will have easy access to her telephone and email address via the web site.
Online Media Daily on 12/21 released a projection by eMarketer that 2010 will be the first year in which online advertising exceeds advertising by newspapers, including for their online editions. eMarketer also expects online advertising to continue to grow and print advertising to decrease.
It will all depend upon the independence of this site, especially who advertises (if local) and the styles of the contributors. Probably no chance of any good investigative reporting, yet again.
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