Media watchdog Jim Romenesko reported today that employees at AOL’s Patch say the company is planning to cut about 300 of its lowest performing websites on Friday, including up to 500 jobs.

The Batavian
Howard Owens (The Batavian)

Meanwhile, at the Batavian in Batavia, N.Y., publisher Howard Owens says AOL CEO Tim Armstrong may have been right with his initial vision for Patch, that local news sites could eliminate the high cost of printing newspapers.

But his big mistake, Owens says, was thinking he could do it at scale in the first year. Owens — whose site is a fellow member of the LION Publishers group with CTNewsJunkie — writes: “The reason our great newspaper chains of the 20th Century are named after individuals — Pulitzer, Hearst, Scripps, Knight-Ridder, Gannett, McClatchy — is that each of the men behind these legendary corporate names started with single newspapers and grew empires based on their initial success.”

Check out Owens’ full analysis of AOL’s scaling problem here at NetNewsCheck.

Patch employees who find themselves out of work on Friday, and who would like to get their own local online news business up and running, have some options available here.