This past June, Erica Hendry, editor of the Vienna Patch, contacted me about submitting my blog posts to the Vienna Patch's blog platform. According to the main Patch website, the Patch platform consists of a series of on-line local news and information sites "run by professional editors, writers, photographers and videographers who live in or near the communities [they] serve." They are supported by a team in the Patch's New York City headquarters. I have been a reader of the local Northern Virginia Patches for quite some time and find them to offer thorough and well-written stories on local news and events that I just can't find in the Washington Post.
I gladly accepted Erica's offer to submit posts on the Vienna Patch. In my mind, running posts on the Patch is like having a syndicated column in a local newspaper. The editor may make minor corrections, or reject objectionable, inaccurate, or inflammatory material (no worries here!), but the post as published is basically the same one as written and submitted. In addition, I retain the rights to my material.
So why this additional platform? Writing for the Patch will enable me to reach other audiences that I may not necessarily have reached by publishing just on Blogger. Some people have an interest in the Civil War or local history, but would not necessarily read stand-alone blogs. The Patch may also help drive content on my blog, as I look for stories that may appeal to the audiences in Vienna, Georgetown, or other nearby areas.
I won't be submitting all my blog posts to the Patch, but when I examine a topic that may be of interest to local readers, I will run that post on the Patch. My first post in the Vienna Patch appeared just the other day and examines the looting and pillaging that occurred in Northern Virginia when General Irvin McDowell passed through on the way to Bull Run. (Readers will remember I ran this same post here a couple of weeks ago.) For the most part, the post on the Patch will be the same as the one that I place here, with a few modifications to fit the Patch format.
Erica also introduced me to other Patch editors in DC and Northern Virginia. So far, the Georgetown Patch, run by Shaun Courtney, has picked up All Not So Quiet Along the Potomac. The website recently published a post I did about the Aqueduct Bridge, which ran between Georgetown and Arlington.
This opportunity shows just how various forms of on-line communication can work together to spread the word about our nation's history. I certainly look forward to sharing my insights on local Civil War history with the readers of the Patch.