AOL Chief Armstrong Fires Patch Staffer On the Spot For Leaking [Audio]

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong fired a staffer on the spot for attempting to record him during a conference on Patch's cutbacks.

The beleaguered AOL, once a figure on the Internet, now struggles to maintain course as a new media organization, though with aid from Ariana Huffington's Huffington Post.  A few years ago, the company hired Patch founder Tim Armstrong to build up their portfolio.  Eventually, Armstrong brought his company Patch along with him.  Now, due to losses in Patch, Armstrong is moving to shut down nearly 90% of Patch's operations to appease investors, leaving him undoubtedly shaken.  Proof of Armstrong being on edge was during an employee conference to discuss the cuts, where he would fire Patch's creative director, Abel Lenz, on the spot for recording the conference.

As discovered in an audio recording posted by media blogger Jim Romenesko seen above, Tim Armstrong was discussing the situation at large at Patch and emphasized that not only is he taking full responsiblity for the situation at Patch and its future cutbacks, but ironically noted that he "did not care" if any information leaks to the organization.  However, about two minutes into the transcript, apparently Mr. Lenz started holding up his camera and began to record Armstrong talking.  At this point, Armstrong immediately addressed Lenz, saying, "Abel, put that camera down right now!  Abel, you're fired.  Out!"  After an awkward silence for about five seconds, Armstrong continued his discussion.

Armstrong has good reason to be a little on edge.  Armstrong founded Patch in 2007 as a chain of hyper-local news hubs, or online form of local newspaper.  Armstrong employs more than 1,100 people at Patch offices around the country.  Now, his project is about to fall apart because of investors seeking profit.  There is some relief for Patch, however: Following the announcement that Patch would receive pull back, several media companies expressed interest to Armstrong and AOL of teaming up with specific Patch offices to shore up their service.

(Media Sources:  Jim Romenesko, TechCrunch)

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