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Patch, the hyperlocal (and profitable) digital news platform, had its strongest month ever in March for both revenue and traffic, according to president Warren St. John.

Why it matters: The digital-only local news platform is an anomaly compared other local news publishers which are struggling amid steep advertising losses.

By the numbers: Last month Patch had nearly double its average page views (148 million vs. 85 million) across its network of local news sites and 48 million unique visitors compared with 30 million on average.

  • It says it added 150,000 email subscribers for the month, bringing its active total to 2.3 million.
  • Patch has added 4 full-time reporters to its editorial staff of 115 people in the last two weeks, along with four contractors. St. John says more hires are coming.

Details: Patch makes its money by converting casual readers to free "subscribers" and then selling site sponsorships around targeting those hyper-loyal readers. It also makes money selling access to events to hyper-localized calendars.

  • To boost engagement, it's tried to reduce ad load by removing "content recommendation" widget from its article pages, which St. John says has significantly helped its page load time and search performance.
  • Advertisers like Amazon's home security system Ring pay to be marquee sponsors of the Patch's network of local sites, which insulates Patch from having to solely deliver scaled, ad-based traffic.

Yes, but: The company also does sell programmatic advertising, and ad rates were down at the end of March, but St. John feels that the company has been able to use its other revenue sources to mostly cushion against that decline.

The big picture: The company, which just finished its fourth profitable year, is trying to figure out ways to give back during the pandemic.

  • It's recently made some of its paid products for businesses (featured classifieds and promoted calendar events) free to local businesses in its communities.

What's next: St. John says Patch is working on a beta to support local reporters who want to start their own local news publications.

Go deeper

Updated 28 mins ago - World

Trudeau's party projected to win minority government in Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo: Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government was reelected for a third term in the country's parliamentary elections — but without a majority, preliminary results show.

Why it matters: Trudeau has governed Canada with a minority of legislative support in parliament for the past two years. Last month, he called for an election two years earlier than scheduled in the hope of forming a majority government.

53 mins ago - World

Reports: CIA director's team member reported Havana Syndrome symptoms

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Bill Burns during a House Intelligence Committee hearing in April on Capitol Hill. Photo: Al Drago-Pool/Getty Images

A member of CIA director Bill Burns' team who traveled with him to India this month was treated for "symptoms consistent with Havana syndrome," CNN first reported Monday.

Why it matters: Current and former officials told the New York Times the incident signals a "possible escalation" in the mysterious neurological symptoms affecting as many as 200 Americans who've worked in overseas posts since 2016.

Pelosi's back-to-school math problem

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) may need votes from an unlikely source — the Republican Party — if she hopes to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill by next Monday, as she's promised Democratic centrists.

Why it matters: With at least 20 progressives threatening to vote against the $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill, centrist members are banking on more than 10 Republicans to approve the bill.