CINCINNATI (TDB) -- For nearly four years now, Jean Dubail has been responsible for moving newspaper content from The Plain Dealer to its digital companion, Cleveland.com. Today, the newsroom learned the veteran editor -- he's been a fixture at Ohio's largest daily for going on two decades -- is leaving newsprint behind. He's resigned to enlist with Patch.com, an AOL venture that is moving to publish digital news in communities like inner city neighborhoods and suburbs. Patch is hiring 500 journalists and expanding into 500 communities in 20 states by the end of this year. Ohio looks to be on the radar, and the Cincinnati Enquirer, along with the state's other newspapers, could find itself facing a challenger. Dubail is supposed to be a regional editor, although that might not be the exact title. Patch is aiming to become a direct competitor of the dinosaur media's efforts to grab online customers as print fades from its 20th Century heyday. With people like Dubail aboard the fade may come much quicker. AOL has been touting Patch and a recent press release about its entry into 100 communities is available here. Patch has been actively recruiting veteran reporters and editors; newspapers, TV stations, wire services and traditional media outlets have been downsizing.
Dubail, a St. Louis native, was the The Plain Dealer's top local news editor between 1999 and 2006. On the metro desk, he supervised nearly 90 journalists and was sharp, extremely competent and a popular figure in the newsroom. He was also able to see ahead into the digital era, an insight and ability that other newspaper execs lacked. Dubail advocated for The Plain Dealer to enter the cyber era, and was the founding father of OPEN, the paper's Ohio political blog. He also was an editorial writer and local news reporter. As for Patch, I found this on the website:
"The Patch.org Foundation was formed in March, 2010 to improve the quality of life in underserved communities across the globe through access to trusted local news and information.
"What we do
The Patch.org Foundation plans to partner with community foundations and other organizations to fund the operation of Patch news and information sites in communities that need them most: inner-city neighborhoods and underserved towns around the world.
"What we look for
We will look for communities of 15-100k population that are drastically underserved by media and would benefit by having access to local news and information about government, schools and business. These could be inner-city neighborhoods or distinct towns. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org."