The Northborough Patch vs The Metrowest Daily News

Every news outlet has different content. Whether it be a print source, such as the Metrowest Daily News, or an online hyper local news site such as the Northborough Patch, content differs. However, content only scratches the crust of contrasts between print and online sources. Allow me to delve deeper into those differences…

A brief history of the Patch: Patch news is a media platform intended for local news. Owned by AOL, Patch has at least 800 websites and operates in 23 states. Tim Armstrong, former CEO of AOL, and founder of Patch, according to a 2011 New York Times article, “has plowed $4.5 million into the site”.

A brief history of the Metrowest Daily News: The MDN is a daily newspaper that covers towns in both the Norfolk and Worcester counties of Massachusetts. It was originally an evening newspaper before being purchased by Harte-Hanks in 1972. Its online affiliate was launched in September 2001.

As I perused both the Northborough Patch and Metrowest Daily News online sites I noticed several differences.

1. Their stories– The Northborough Patch news section contained more short, synopses of stories. Traditional news sites, such as the MDN, have more formulaic stories that follow old school methods of journalism.

2. Sourcing-I read three different news stories on the Northborough Patch and all of them quoted only one source. Comparatively, after reading three MDN news stories, there were at least three sources in each story.

3. Structure-the Patch follows more of a blog-like structure. It doesn’t adhere to the inverted pyramid style of writing that traditional journalism and the MDN news, generally speaking, follow.

4. Online Format– The MDN has many different tabs that can are easily accessible and simple to navigate. Not to say that the Northborough Patch is not simple to navigate, but because there is less content on the site, the site itself can’t help but suffer as a result.

From my observations about both the Northborough Patch and the Metrowest Daily News, I don’t think it is any secret which site I trust more. I myself am more of a traditional journalism guy. I trust MDN more than the Patch. Not only are the stories, sourcing, structure, and online format better on the MDN, but the content seems more reliable. The MDN has been around for far longer than the Patch, leading to a loyalty that I cannot break.

That being said, I need to bear in mind that Northborough is a small town, so its Patch isn’t necessarily going to be the best news site. Who knows, maybe in a couple years I will be swayed to the Patch’s hyper local side. But for now, I’m still a traditional newspaper fan.


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