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What’s in a date?

1 Dec

There’s been a great deal of silence on this blog, I know, since landing my gig with My site isn’t due to launch till early next year as I’m flying back to London to renew my work visa shortly… so things are on hold.

Meanwhile, I’ve been keeping busy working for the Daily Mail and the New York Post where I’ve spent most of my time on the Ronni Chasen murder story (along with most of Hollywood).

However, the GREAT news is that my new puppy was finally born on November 28. I’m so excited. She’ll be coming home in eight weeks. You can read all about her adventures on her very own Bronte the Golden Retriever Blog here.

However, I really wanted to reflect on her birthdate. It’s taken me three days because I’m trying to get my emotions in order.

November 28, 2002 was the day I survived an Al Qaeda suicide bomb attack in Mombasa, Kenya. You can read more about it here. For the last eight years this has been a terrible anniversary. However, now that my puppy has been born, it’s no longer such a terrible day. It’s gone from being bitter to bittersweet, and I’m looking forward to being able to celebrate November 28 from here on out as well as honouring the memories of Albert de Havila, Dvir and Noy Anter and the nine Kenyan workers murdered by terrorists.

There’s definitely a symmetry to this universe.


Mar Vista Patch is looking to hire contributors!

2 Nov

As promised, WE ARE HIRING! Here’s the scoop on all things Patch and who we’re looking for. If you live on the Westside of Los Angeles, this is what we need:

Be part of the team
Freelancers and columnists: Join our team of paid freelancers, who cover news and sports, write restaurant reviews or write local Patch city-focused columns about such topics as schools, politics, seniors, teens. We need reporters, columnists, photographers, videographers; and we really want you if you’re multiskilled.

When you’re a Patch contributor, you get more than just a byline. On Patch sites, we display a bio on each contributor on the About page. is coming soon to Mar Vista!

Its mission: To be a hub of news, information and commentary, all based on the concept that an informed, engaged community is a better community.

At  Mar Vista Patch, we know you have news and information wants and needs. When Mar Vista patch launches in the coming weeks, the  site will tell you about local breaking news, business openings and closings, school news and crime, local trends, the community’s movers and shakers and average folks who are doing extraordinary things. You’ll find out about sports, obituaries, events, shopping deals. We’ll provide critical local information: the name of the official to call for a building permit or to make a noise complaint, contact details for schools and preschools, where to get information about e-waste disposal.

What you can do: Post birth and wedding announcements. Comment on news stories. Add reviews of dentists, mechanics and restaurants. Discuss story ideas with the editor, Kelly Hartog.

Look for us around town
Our business and organization listings won’t be skimpy Yellow Pages stuff; our team of researchers actually hit the street and visit businesses, schools, libraries, and more so we can provide photos as well as detailed information like maps, products sold, and hours.  (To contact us about the listing for your business or organization, email us at

You’ll see our editors all around town with laptop, cell phone and camera, listening to people and covering what they care about. Each patch community will also recruit a local advisory group.

Our editorial philosophy
We’re locally focused with an emphasis on news you can use, breaking news, watchdog journalism, faces of the community, commentary and reviews and reader engagement.

We subscribe to the idea that news is a conversation. Much of our reporting will emanate from what readers tell us in emails, comments on our sites and in conversations around town. That means before we publish a story we may post an item on our site, letting readers know we’re looking into a topic and asking for their feedback.

Transparency: Our editors and other contributors are involved in the communities they cover. Occasionally, they may write about something with which they are closely connected. When that happens, we’ll disclose those connections with the story and be clear about whether we’re writing opinion or straight news.

Online storytelling: We will take advantage of what the web can do. For every story, we will consider the best way to tell it online. We might use any combination of text, photos, video, live chats, interactive maps and graphics, databases, polls and any other tools at our disposal.

Diversity: We are committed to hiring a diverse staff and having our coverage reflect the diverse communities we live in. And we define diversity broadly. That means we want people oa all ages and backgrounds to feel they can call patch their own. We want you to help us.

Connections with the community

•    Post announcements and events. Click the “Add Yours” link on the home page.
•    Add your photos, videos or comments to any story.
•    Tell us about stories we should cover. Click the “News tip” link on the home page.
•    Post an ad about your business or a classified ad.

Social media
Follow us on Twitter at
“Like” MarVistaPatch on Facebook.

You can’t truly serve a community unless you’re giving it the help it needs most. Giving back to our communities is hugely important to us. We’ll do it both as part of our coverage  — in a dedicated area on the site that lets local charities and willing volunteers find each other — and with a program we call “Give 5,” through which we’ll provide free advertising space to charitable organizations and donate our own time as volunteers in the community.

When can I start using the site?
We’re getting set to open our doors in a few weeks.

Who runs Patch?
AOL is our parent company. Patch was acquired by AOL CEO Tim Armstrong soon after he was named last year to run the company. He had been a seed investor in Patch, a start-up with a big idea and a lot of passion about reinventing community news and engaging the public.

Kelly Hartog
Editor, Mar Vista Patch (launching soon)
Find us on Facebook
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Email me


I have joined in Mar Vista

2 Nov


I can break the news. I’ve been away, and I’ve been covering crazy celebrity journalism for the New York Post, and doing editing gigs, and grieving over my darling Bridget, and awaiting the birth of my new puppy (10 days from now), but mostly I’ve been interviewing for Click on the link for more information about Patch.

It was a long, gruelling interview process but I’m excited to say that I have been hired as the editor of Mar Vista Patch, which will launch in the coming weeks. I was hired last week and went through three days of training and am now working hard to launch my site.

I’m excited to have  a full time job after years of freelancing, excited to have a regular salary, VERY excited by the EXCELLENT benefits offered, and extremely excited that I still get to work from home. Patch outfits us with a MacBook Pro, a camera, video, iPhone, printer, scanner, fax – pretty much everything you need to run an online journalism site from your home, your coffee shop, the local park, wherever.

Most of all, I’m excited to be back working in community journalism, which is where my roots are and is what I love best. I’m excited to get to know the Mar Vista community and engage the locals and be part of their world.  I’m incredibly excited.

In order to launch, I have to have X number of Twitter and Facebook followers. So please, please go to Mar Vista Patch on Facebook and “like” us. And follow me on MarVistaPatch on Twitter.

I’m also looking for contributors to the site. Please see the next Post if you’re interested!