Media giant AOL is eyeing Rhode Island as part of a larger, nationwide expansion of its prime local news initiative, Patch. As I report in a piece to appear in this week's Phoenix - should be up on the web site later today - AOL is recruiting journalists for hyperlocal news sites in Newport, Portsmouth, and Middletown.
AOL's arrival would, in some ways, mark a simple expansion of a larger trend toward media diversity: increasingly vital blogs of all kinds have become an important part of the media landscape over the past few years, local NPR affiliate WRNI has revamped its web site and beefed up its newsroom of late, and news and commentary site golocalprov.com sprung up just a couple of months ago.
But it would also signal something new: a foray by a major corporation into Rhode Island's emerging, on-line local media space. Read my Phoenix piece to get a sense for what it all means.