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Goodbye Catonsville Patch

Patch editor Penny Riordan is moving to a new position within the company.

It was two years ago this July when a former editor and mentor of mine contacted me about a new opportunity with a company called Patch.com.

I was working at the Caroll County Times at the time and had followed the company's expansion up north in Connecticut where I used to work. I knew their model was online-only, they were owned by AOL and the job was very community oriented.

My former editor didn't have to sell it to me too hard. Once I heard they were hiring in Maryland and in the Baltimore suburbs, I knew I wanted to be part of the team. If you've looked at my you know I used to live in Union Square in West Baltimore and have family in Arbutus, so Catonsville was the closest place with a decent grocery store from my home in the city.

Catonsville Patch launched in October 2010 on the day of 's . Since then we have covered everything in the community, from crime to businesses opening and closing to neighborhood issues.

In that time I moved twice within town and now live within walking distance from downtown Frederick Road. I've become a regular at where many of you have stopped by to meet me, ask me questions about the site and pitch stories.

I've also watched the site grow and evolve into not only a news site, but an information site and a hub for community conversation. In fact, that's the part about the job I love the most.

In the just under two years I've run the site, we've brainstormed about , lamented the loss of , talked about , and many other topics. I've experienced two July 4th parades, covered , and met so many interesting people.

The pace of an online-only publication was freeing for me after all of my years in print. People would ask, 'when is your deadline?' I would reply, 'whenever you send me the information and I sit down and write the story.'

I enjoyed the immediacy of the online world, as well as the immediate feedback I received from readers in the minutes after I posted a story.

I've been a professional journalist for nearly a decade and no job that I have had has given me such a level of connection to the community. I have truly loved that.

You've chided me (sometimes rightly so), encouraged me and inspired me. I have felt accountable to you and often felt this site was just as much yours as it was mine.

What makes Patch different is not only those community conversations, but the openness of the site design. Want to get in touch with me? My face and email are on the homepage. Not only can you comment on a story, but you can post an announcement, event, or add a photo. If you have something you'd like to say that is all your own, you can start a blog.

You can do all of this without having to jump through lots of hoops or get approval from a lot of people. All you need is a log-in.

Some journalists and traditionalists may think this model gives too much power to readers, but I argue it is readers that keep us in business in the first place.

Through this job I have also networked with many other employees in Patch and been a part of some exciting stuff behind the scenes.

As a result, I found out about a new opportunity within the company. I've accepted a new role within Patch and am leaving Catonsville Patch.

Sunday will be my last day as editor. I hope you will stop by and see me at the at the Patch tent.

In my new job, I'll be working with other Patch sites up and down the East Coast, helping to expand their network of active participants, recruiting and tending bloggers.

I won't be leaving Catonsville and I may be in touch with some of you in my new role. I will also be blogging on the site, so you'll still be able to stay in touch if you'd like.

I also want to thank a team of great freelancers and columnists who have worked to help make this site where it is today. Columnist has made us and taught us about . tutored us in and also profiled some inspiring . taught us to and also for the site. inspired . shared the stores of local business owners. showed us many of Catonsville's gardens. Former sports freelancers and were with me from the start and have since moved onto fantastic jobs with other media outlets in Baltimore.

We also have a team of bloggers that will continue to be with the site, including , and .

When I first accepted the job, there were many sites that were available to choose from in Maryland. I said I only wanted to be in Catonsville. I knew that this was the place to be for a startup site that relies on community participation to thrive.

Thank you readers, for helping create community in Catonsvillle online in this new and exciting way. I hope you'll stick with Patch as we continue to grow and evolve. I know I believe it is the future of news, information and community conversation!

If you need to get in touch with someone from the site in the interim, contact Arbutus editor Bruce Goldfarb @bruce.goldfarb@patch.com or Associate Regional Editor for Baltimore County Bryan Sears at bryan.sears@patch.com.

Penny Riordan September 06, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Sorry Mari, didn't mean to scare you. Catonsville Patch will certainly not go anywhere. I'll miss the many loyal readers of Catonsville Patch like you!
Tyler Waldman September 06, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Congratulations Penny! It's been a pleasure working with you in storms, in earthquakes and in the press row at Greenwood. I'm not sure which was tougher. I know you'll rock in your new role.
Janine Iamunno September 06, 2012 at 03:38 AM
Huge congrats, Penny! I'm glad you're staying in the family! :)
George@Maryland Residential Realty September 06, 2012 at 10:56 AM
Congratulations Penny. I wish you the very best.
Ed Davis September 06, 2012 at 11:31 AM
Congrats Penny! Will miss you on these pages. Glad you'll be staying in Catonsville—you're a terrific asset to this community!
Hillary Pennington September 06, 2012 at 11:36 AM
Penny, as excited as I am to see your talents recognized at a higher level, I am certainly sad to see you leave the Catonsville Patch. I'm not sure who they'll find to fill your shoes, someone who puts their heart and their soul into this fabulous community, but I'm sure they'll feel the magnitude of the footprint you left behind. Thank you for making this more than a job, for becoming part of who we are, and giving us a platform to not only read the news, but allowing individuals a voice and giving Catonsville a place where we can come together. I think Patch has strengthened this community, making us even more tight knit then we were before. It's been a pleasure to work with you over the past two years.
scott schools September 06, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Congrats & Good luck!!!
MikeC September 06, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Good luck, Penny. Thanks for keeping us well informed.
Meg Tipper September 06, 2012 at 12:40 PM
As a newcomer to Catonsville and newly retired, connecting with you and Catonsville Patch was such a blessing. Thank you, Penny, for giving me my big break in journalism! You have taught me some good lessons and also given me a lot of freedom. I will miss working with you, and Catonsville will miss you at the helm of our Patch. See you on the wall!
Catonsville Cooperative Market September 06, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Congratulations Penny on your promotion but oh, how you will be missed! In the brief time we've been working together you've been a terrific sounding board, resource and an enthusiastic supporter of ours and we will never forget it. I hope that you find new challenges and great joys in your new position and that we remain in contact. Debbie Rosier President
Angela McLean September 06, 2012 at 12:45 PM
WOW...what an inspiration you are Penny! I have always told you that you actually need the White House COrresponding Secretary you are that good. We need more enthusiastic and passionate journalists to cover real issues in real time. We are blessed with your commitment to our Catonsville. We are inspired by your relentless dedication to students and staff of our local school in this town. We applaud your conviction to getting the hard facts but doing it with class and composure. You are nothing short of our angel among us. Thank you thank you thank you. When you get to the White house...be sure to keep the 'ville on your radar...as we know you will. God speed angel! Peace- Angie McLean CMS PTSA President
CCBC News and Events September 06, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Penny, Congrats on your promotion but I am very sorry to see you leave the Catonsville Patch. Two years ago when Patch came to town, CCBC became connected to three super editors - you for Catonsville, Ron Snyder for Essex-Middle River and Ron Cassie for Dundalk. Now you are all gone!! While CCBC looks forward to continuing to work with Patch to get the word out, we will miss the friendship and great support (and coverage!) that you three pros gave us. Keep in touch.
Craig Witzke September 06, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Best wishes Penny! You did a great job with the Patch during your time here. You will be missed.
Valerie Bonk September 06, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Congratulations Penny, you deserve it :) You were always showing us other editors up with the number of bloggers and followers you recruited!
Rosebud September 06, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Penny, Wonderful job!! You have certainly made a difference in this great community. Best wishes to you in your new position.
Lisa Daigle September 06, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Congratulations Penny! Thank you for all of your help with the Relay For Life blog. I know you'll be great in your new position.
Penny Riordan September 06, 2012 at 05:13 PM
To all the bloggers, I'll still be helping out with blogging in my new role, so I'll still be in touch with you! If you want to keep in touch and you don't have a blog, then feel free to start one here: http://catonsville.patch.com/blog/apply
Penny Riordan September 06, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Ed, I would be remiss if I didn't thank you for so enthusiastically taking on any photo idea I had. You represented Patch well and I have missed working with you. Thanks again for all the work!
Penny Riordan September 06, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Hillary, you summed exactly what I hoped readers would take away from this site! It's truly been a pleasure to help grow this online community. We'll still be working together in my new job I expect, so I look forward to that.
Penny Riordan September 06, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Thanks Meg! I was so lucky to find you so early after I launched. Thanks for working with whatever crazy idea I came up with and representing Patch in the community well.
Penny Riordan September 06, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Thanks Debbie! I think we will remain in contact with my new job. The goals of the market and Patch aren't all that different when you think about it.
Penny Riordan September 06, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Oh Angie, I hope that I live up to the praise you always bestowed upon me. You were a tremendous resource for me and a true supporter of the site. Thanks for the kind words!
Amanda Lauer September 06, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Best wishes, Penny. Thanks for all you've done to help promote the Oella Community Garden and Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum. Hope to see you on the Trolley Trail! I'll be the one with greyhounds.
Ron Wise September 06, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Your new position sounds interesting, Penny. I almost feel like I know you, though we've never personally met. I watched Catonsville change over the past 70 years, and never has it been as exciting as it is now. Your personal touch via the Patch will be missed by many, including myself. I'm happy you are not really leaving us; that you'll be out and about our special "little" village. I look forward to seeing you at the Arts Fest. The Catonsville Arts Group will have a tent displaying some of our artwork being offered for a silent auction. Half of the procedes will allow the group to have a tent at the Farmers Market. Hope you and everyone will visit the CAG tent.
Donna September 06, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Thanks for keeping the Catonsville Community informed -- Good Luck Penny!!
Ann September 07, 2012 at 02:42 AM
All the best, Penny! Keep growing and finding happiness and success!
Joanna Schneider September 07, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Congrats, Penny! Excited to work together in the coming months :)
Cal Oren September 07, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Penny, THANK YOU for serving the Catonsville community so superbly, not only with your consummate journalistic skills and work ethic, but also with your irrepressible good nature and sunny disposition. Far more than just reporting on the events in the community, you have been an unabashed Catonsville booster, and an active participant in helping make this place we all love a better place to live, work, study, and play. While they can hire another editor, there is really no way you are going to be replaced.
Penny Riordan September 07, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Cal, you are too kind. I really have enjoyed every minute of this job and covering Catonsville. We'll stay in touch though, and I'm still running the Fall into Fitness race so I'll see you then!
Natural Nick September 09, 2012 at 08:18 AM
I'll miss you Penny! Congratulations and thank you for making Catonsville Patch great! Keep in touch with us!

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