What We Cover
Area Covered: Needham, MA
Local Government: Town Meeting; Board of Selectmen
High Schools: Needham High School; St. Sebastian's School
Meet Your Local Patch Team
Becca Manning, Contributor, Editor
Becca Manning came to Patch from a small family-run publishing company on the South Shore where she was the editor of a weekly newspaper in Pembroke, MA. Before that, she worked for several years as the education and government reporter for the Piqua Daily Call in Piqua, OH, not far from her hometown. She has a bachelor's of science in journalism from Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism with an environmental studies certificate. When not covering the town of Charlestown, Becca writes fiction, enjoys reading, spends time at the beach and tries not to burn down the kitchen when she cooks.
Bill Gilman, Community Editor
Bill is 45 years old, married with two teen sons. Bill has been in journalism 23 years at various daily and weekly publications in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. He got his start in sports journalism, but his heart is in hometown community coverage.
Christopher Gambon, Contributor, Editor
Charlene Arsenault, Contributor, Editor
Born and raised in Leicester, MA, Charlene Arsenault has been writing and editing professionally for more than 25 years. Launching into a music column for the Montachusett Telegram & Gazette fresh out of college in 1993, she quickly migrated to Worcester Magazine, where she spent more the 15 years, most recently as the A&E editor. She's racked up quite a few awards over the years, too. Arsenault is also the originator and founding partner of the Pet Rock Festival, New England's premier annual animal welfare benefit held in Worcester. She has played keyboards in a few notable regional bands, and is also good at quite a few sports, namely softball, volleyball and bowling. Still, Harriett Tubman and the Hi-Tops never won a game, and Ladybug Picnic sits in last place.
Susan Petroni, Editor
Susan has been a journalist since high school, when she was hired by the Everett-Leader Herald to cover basketball and other high school sports. She is excited to be covering the community she lives in, again.
After graduating from Boston College, Susan was an award-winning sports editor (New England Press Association (NEPA) awards) and an award-winning education reporter (named best education reporter by the Massachusetts Teachers Association). A former political, town government and investigative reporter, Susan has won several New England Press Association, Suburban Newspapers of America (SNA) and National Newspaper Association awards.
A former writer at the Brockton Enterprise and an editor at The Eagle-Tribune, Susan has worked as a freelance writer and editor since getting married and having a family. She has written for national publications like FamilyFun magazine and was editor of Bay State Parent magazine from 2004-2008. Bay State Parent won more than 100 awards while Susan was at the helm, including being named best regional parenting magazine in North America by SNA in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Susan lives in Framingham with her husband and their daughter. An active volunteer and an avid photographer, Susan is rarely seen without her camera.
Sean O'Donnell, Editor
Sean started freelancing for Patch while he was still completing his journalism degree at Keene State College in New Hampshire. Shortly after graduating he took over as the Local Editor for Hopkinton.patch.com.
While at KSC Sean was the news editor for The Equinox, a weekly student newspaper. As News Editor Sean was responsible for everything from breaking news to student government meetings. He also worked as a photographer and videographer for the paper while taking classes focusing on multimedia reporting.
In his free time, Sean enjoys outdoor activities including skiing and hiking. He also enjoys spending time with his family and friends spread across the New England area.
Mary MacDonald, Contributor, Editor
Mary is a veteran reporter who started at a weekly, the Vineyard Gazette, on Martha's Vineyard, before moving on to dailies in southern New Hampshire, Florida and Georgia. For nine years, she was a writer at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She most recently worked as a public school teacher in Springfield.
Justin Medley, Contributor, Sales, Blogger
Justin Medley is an Advertising Manager for Patch.com. Originally from Alabama, he graduated from Auburn University in 2006 and obtained a B.S. in Marketing. Justin comes to Patch with experience in social media marketing and digital advertising focusing on marketing and branding strategy. Justin is dedicated to helping businesses fulfill their marketing goals.
Patrick Clark, Contributor, Sales
Patrick Purcell, Contributor, Sales
Patrick is the Regional Publisher for Patch in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. He is a Weston High School alum and a Boston College graduate. Patrick spent most of his career in the newspaper industry prior to joining Patch. He has managed sales teams for The New York Post, Boston Herald and Community Newspaper Company.
Danielle Masterson, Contributor
Since graduating from Boston University, Danielle has had two successful careers in news writing and teaching at the elementary school level. She loves to listen to music, crochet and read. She lives in the Greater Boston area with her husband and their two dogs, Jake and Chloe.
Michele Taranto, Contributor, Editor
What is Patch?
Simply put, Patch is an innovative way to find out about, and participate in, what's going on near you.
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Phil Meyer is Professor Emeritus in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and was inducted into the North Carolina Hall of Fame in Journalism in the spring of 2008. He joined the Journalism School in 1981 and served as Knight Chair in Journalism Professor from 1993-2008. Prior to joining the school, he held a number of reporter and research positions at various media outlets.
He has won numerous awards including the 2005 Sigma Delta Chi Distinguished Service Award for Research About Journalism (with Scott Maier). He was named a Fellow of Society of Professional Journalists in 2005. In 2004, the Newspaper Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication gave him its Professional Freedom and Responsibility Award. And in 2000 he received the American Association for Public Opinion Research Award for Exceptionally Distinguished Achievement.
Meyer is the author of several books including The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age and Precision Journalism: A Reporter’s Introduction to Social Science Methods. Journalism Quarterly in 2000 listed this book as one of the 35 significant books of the 20th century in journalism and mass communication; and the American Association for Public Opinion Research, observing its 50th anniversary in 1996, listed it as one of 50 significant books on public opinion research.
He received his B.S. in technical journalism from Kansas State University and his M.A. in political science from the University of North Carolina.
Steven Berlin Johnson is a pioneer in the web world, as a co-founder of FEED, Plastic.com, and Outside.in, which was acquired by Patch in March of 2011. He also co-created Findings.com, which launched in late 2011. Steven was the 2009 Hearst New Media Professional-in-Residence at The Journalism School at Columbia University, and served for several years as a Distinguished Writer in Residence at NYU’s Journalism School. He is a bestselling author of seven books, and won acclaim and a Newhouse School Mirror Award for his 2010 Time Magazine cover story, "How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live."
Speaking of Steven's editorial prowess, check out this video based on Steven's book, Where Good Ideas Come From, which was named one of the best books of 2010 by The Economist.
Brian Farnham, Founding Editor-in-Chief
Brian was Editor-in-Chief of Time Out New York magazine before coming to Patch. Before that he worked for a variety of publications both online and off, including Details magazine, New York Magazine, and the old, dearly departed Sidewalk.com. He has written for numerous publications, from the New York Times magazine to Harper's Bazaar. He graduated from Bowdoin College and got an MFA in creative writing at Columbia University so he could put his novel in a drawer with distinction. He lives in Manhattan with his beautiful wife, adorable son, angelic daughter and the world's most dog-like cat. He’s proud as hell of what the Patch team has built.
Ken Paulson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the First Amendment Center
Ken Paulson is president and chief executive officer of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University and in Washington, D.C.
Previously, Paulson served as the editor and senior vice president/news of USA Today. He is now a columnist on USA Today’s board of contributors, writing about First Amendment issues and the news media.
Throughout his career, Paulson has drawn on his background as both a journalist and lawyer, serving as the editor or managing editor of newspapers in five different states.
He also is past-president of the American Society of News Editors, the nation’s largest organization of news media leaders.
Paulson also was the host of the Emmy-honored television program “Speaking Freely,” seen in more than 60 PBS markets nationwide over five seasons, and the author of "Freedom Sings," a multimedia stage show celebrating the First Amendment that continues to tour the nation's campuses.
He was an early advocate of making newspaper content available online, launching online newspapers in both Florida and New York in 1993.
For 12 years, Paulson was a regular guest lecturer at the American Press Institute, speaking to more than 5,000 journalists about First Amendment issues. He was honored with the API Lifetime Service Award. In 2010 and 2011, he served as chair of the PBS Editorial Standards Review Committee.
In 2007, Paulson was named fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists, “the highest honor SPJ bestows upon a journalist for extraordinary contributions to the profession.” In 2008, he received the Robert S. Abbott Memorial Award for Meritorious Service in Mass Communications from the Southern Regional Press Institute. He has also been elected to the Illini Publishing Hall of Fame at the University of Illinois.
He is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law and the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He also has served as an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University Law School. In 2008, he received an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from American University.