When AOL, the digital dinosaur from the Internet's dial-up days, announced its big push into hyperlocal journalism known as Patch, a network of bloglike sites, the corporation spun it as a feel-good story.

An August 17 news release promised that Patch would hire "professional journalists" and provide "original, trusted coverage" in 400 locales nationwide, bringing AOL's blog site count to 500.

In L.A., not everyone sees it that way. "It's a Walmart moving in and driving out the mom-and-pop businesses," says Altadena resident and local blogger Timothy Rutt.

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