Happy Birthday To Us!

It’s been one year since Union City Patch launched

Union City Patch turns 1 today!

That’s a huge milestone for us at Patch and for us as a community because it’s one we obviously couldn’t have reached without you.

Union City Patch isn't just a news website, it's a community gathering spot. It’s where you share ideas, events, announcements and news tips. Most of our stories come from reader suggestions. Some are even written by you — take , for example.

So while I may wear the title of “editor,” it’s you who truly dictates what we report.

We thank all of you for your support through this first year — and what a year it’s been!

In the last 365 days, we’ve published 1,652 news articles. That averages to about 4.5 local news stories per day about things that matter to you — and that’s not including event postings, announcements, blogs or directory listings.

We’ve taken pride in covering everything Union City. We’ve celebrated our ethnic diversity (see stories on , the , and ), , and reported on .

We were there , and we were there .

I can’t remember every single story our amazing team of contributors has produced, but a few key moments do come to mind.

Politics and Potter Mania

Like many upstarts, we started off slow. Being the new guys on the scene, some folks didn’t take us seriously, some weren’t sure if they could trust us, and some kept wondering why a dating site was interested in journalism (“No, not Match.com, Patch.com, with a P, like a patch of grass.”).

While I was sure our extensive reporting on would really put us on the map, local politics was no match for wizardry. The earliest story that helped put us on the map was our report on . Seriously.

The quirky story was among the most read and most shared articles until…

Something Awful Happened at Dollar Tree

The bad thing about being a news editor is that you have to cover everything, including terribly tragic events. News broke out Dec. 2 about an incident that occurred the day before at Dollar Tree where in the middle of an aisle during the day.

The silver lining, if you can call it that, was that the suspect, Eugene Ramos, was caught — by two good Samaritans who tackled him and sat on him until police arrived.

Our story, and , got residents’ attention and really established us as a legitimate and credible source for news, making “Check Patch” a common response to the question: “What’s going on?”

Darlene Way Standoff

The story that best defined our role in the community was our report of . The case started as an attempted burglary investigation at about 10:15 a.m. on July 21, but when two officers arrived to investigate the burglary, a suspect fired shots at the officers. Residents weren’t allowed to leave or return to their homes. They came to us for answers.

We stayed on the scene throughout the entire ordeal until 1 a.m., long after other news crews left. We continually spoke with residents and authorities and updated the article, but much of the story was actually told in the comments and via our Twitter and Facebook accounts, with readers giving tips, posting updates and raising questions. It was an example of how fast news can be disseminated online. A police lieutenant even answered residents’ questions in the comments section, which also highlighted the transparency of our local police.

Michelle Le

Another story that falls into the terribly tragic category was the story of Michelle Le, a 26-year-old nursing student from San Mateo who went missing from the Hayward Kaiser on May 27. A Union City woman was eventually more than three months after she disappeared.

Not just those in the Bay Area, but many across the nation wept for Le as her family spent months desperately searching for her. It was through the family’s continued efforts that during a search party.

We’ve written numerous reports on this story, some of which have appeared on the Huffing Post and AOL homepages, and will continue to follow it until the case is closed.

There’s Good News, Too

For each of the “bad” news stories we report, there are dozens of positive local stories that we share on Union City Patch, from and to and .

Here are just some of the popular stories we’ve run in the past year that come to mind:

Do you have a favorite story, photo or video this year? Please tell us about it.

Have ideas for what to cover in the coming year? We'd like to hear them.

Here's to many more years of Union City Patch!

Joe October 12, 2011 at 04:16 PM
Patch will be gone very very soon http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2011/10/06/is-aol-trimming-its-patch-year-end-goal-now-in-doubt/
Abdollah Nejad October 12, 2011 at 04:46 PM
Happy Birthday to Patch and its wonderful and hardworking staff! Your news and morning updates are a key part of our community! Keep up the great job!
sandi holder October 12, 2011 at 08:25 PM
Happy Birthday to Patch - you have an amazing staff and Zoneil you do a wonderful job covering the news. Congratulations!!
Paddy's Coffee House October 12, 2011 at 09:05 PM
Happy Birthday Patch. Zo, it's only been a year since we met, but it certainly does not feel like that :) :), kindred spirits more like it. From all of us at Paddy's, thank you for enriching us with your presence and here's to many more birthdays.
Helen Kennedy October 13, 2011 at 12:49 AM
Patch has been a wonderful asset to our community. Thank you so much for the excellent coverage of local news and events. Zoneil, your stories are timely and written with great style. You really "know" Union City. Looking forward to another great year! Happy birthday!


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