It was two years ago today that Havre de Grace Patch sprang into existence. Honoring the site's growth on its second birthday, we did a Q&A with Sean Welsh, the founding editor of Havre de Grace Patch who recently rose to the ranks of Patch management in Maryland. Here's what he had to say about bringing the hyperlocal site to his hometown of Havre de Grace.
What was the best part about being Havre de Grace Patch's editor?
Sean: Feedback from readers is the best part. Knowing that the long hours that I work and the exhausting effort it takes to cover all of the activity around the city are actually worth it—that's about as meaningful as it gets. Working at two traditional newspapers in the past, I never knew whether what I wrote was actually being read. With Havre de Grace Patch, I knew. The readers have been the best part of the job.
What was your favorite memory from launching the site in 2010?
Sean: I remember having a breaking news story like three days before launch that I had to hold until we launched the site. We ended up breaking the story—the closing of the Save-A-Lot store downtown. Beyond that, I remember the relief of getting the site up and running ... [but] the sigh of relief was short-lived—we had a fatal fire within a day of launching the site.
When did you know Havre de Grace Patch was catching on?
Sean: I don't think there was ever an "aha" moment—I think I was too zoned-in on the effort of making the site relevant to really remember when it became relevant. I do remember one time talking with a regular source of mine, right after New Year's Day in early 2011, and he suggested Patch had become irreplaceable.
What is your birthday wish for Havre de Grace Patch?
Sean: I'd love to see the readers make Patch theirs. The readers really do drive the site. But I think a lot of people around town have yet to find how Patch can really benefit them, their organizations, social groups and businesses. Whether it's posting an event, creating an announcement or starting a Local Voices column, readers really can use Patch for virtually anything. And I hope more local businesses jump on the recent wave of interested advertisers. Ad manager Brad Cox has found some interested partners—I know there are more out there.
Anything readers should anticipate as we enter the terrible twos?
Sean: I think readers can anticipate the same things that initially brought them to Patch—breaking news and information to make their lives in the city easier. But they can also expect more opportunities to get involved, more ways to improve their lives, community groups and businesses through Patch. It's only going to improve.