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September 30, 2016 - 11:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

Billie had to go out of town today unexpectedly. I'm still in Chicago and the LION Publishers' conference is in full swing.

For most of the day, we won't have anyone monitoring the scanner. I think we'll have some news flow today, but a slight unexpected disruption.

September 27, 2016 - 9:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

I didn't get a chance to post this before I left, but I'm in Chicago through Saturday.

I'll miss the Wine Walk, but we've got coverage lined up of various things while I'm gone. 

I'm attending a two-day conference for programmers working for news organizations and then I'll be at the annual conference for Local Independent Online News Publishers. I'll be speaking at that conference on Saturday.

September 17, 2016 - 3:53pm


It was on a Saturday in September 10 years ago that I first drove into Batavia.

I returned to that event today to sort of mark the anniversary.

It was through a calendar item in the Gardener's Journal 10 years ago that I saw something about a Master Gardeners' Gala at the Cornell Cooperative Extension in a placed called Batavia.

"Batavia can't be too far of a drive," I thought, while sitting in my hotel room in Fairport.  

I made the drive, and it was a bit more of a drive than I expected, but eventually, I found Batavia, and I found it charming.

I came out here looking for information on growing roses in Western New York (we were getting ready to move from Bakersfield, Calif.) and left charmed by this little city.

Little did I know then, that within two years, I would be starting an online news site for Genesee County and eventually moving here myself. But Billie and I are quite happy with that turn of events.

Thank you all for supporting our experiment in online-only news and embracing and accepting us as you have.

And yes, I've found it possible to quite successfully grow roses in Western New York.



August 11, 2016 - 12:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, Bowling, Mike Pettinella, thebatavian, news, business.


For nearly a decade, local journalist and bowling expert Mike Pettinella has produced a bi-weekly bowling column for the local print newspaper, but on Sept. 1, Pettinella’s column moves into the 21st Century, going all digital.

Pettinella has agreed to move the column, Pin Points, to the region’s most popular source for online news, The Batavian.

With the reach of The Batavian, the Wyoming County Free Press and promotional help from WBTA AM/FM and the online-only news sites in Orleans and Livingston counties, Pettinella’s Pin Points will reach a bigger audience than ever.

“We’re honored that Mike has chosen The Batavian for his column’s new home,” said Howard Owens, publisher of The Batavian. “Mike has a large and loyal following of bowling enthusiasts, so combine that with the popularity of The Batavian and it’s a move that is great for bowlers in the area and the sponsors who have long supported Pin Points.”

Pettinella is a Genesee Region USBC Hall of Fame bowler and writer who has written professionally about the sport of bowling continuously since 1977, when he began employment as Sports Editor of The Batavia Daily News.

Bowling has been a major part of Pettinella’s career since 1992, when he took the managerial position at Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia. After an 11-year stint there, he was hired by the Empire State USBC Association as its manager in 2010, and continues to serve as association manager of the New York State USBC, a position he has held since 2011.

Earlier this month, Pettinella accepted the position as association manager of the Genesee Region USBC, which services league and tournament bowlers in Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties. He also covers local government in Genesee County and other local news for The Batavian.

His bowling columns have appeared in the Daily News and the Genesee Valley PennySaver, and he has also had articles published in several bowling publications, including Spares & Strikes and the CNY Striker. For the past nine years, his Pin Points column on The Bowling Page was a regular feature of The Batavia Daily News.

Pettinella has been involved in bowling since the late 1960s, and rolled a certified 300 game as a high school junior in 1971.

A former collegiate standout bowler, he has a high series of 816, has four Batavia Bowling Association/GRUSBC Senior Masters titles, and anchored the Turnbull Heating team to the NYS Open Championships title in 2010. Last season, he rolled two 300 games at Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen.

Mike and his wife, Wendy, have four grown daughters and five grandchildren.

August 5, 2016 - 9:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, thebatavian, Sponsored Post, advertisement.

Yesterday, we introduced a whole new system for handling the Deal of the Day. We've automated much of the work of managing deal of the day to make it both easier on us and easier on you.

For us, it will mean a lot less work.

For you, you will no longer be asked to remember if you're eligible to buy a deal. In the past, we had a requirement that you couldn't buy the same deal within a six-month window (that's now four months), but it was kind of up to you to remember your last purchase date. With this new system, the database will remember that information for you. 

To make this work, however, you will need to register and log into your account to make a purchase. From that point on, everything with PayPal works just like it did before.

This new system will allow us to post deal of the day more frequently and at more random times, giving more people a chance to enjoy the benefits of these bargains.

For more on this project and why we did it, click here.

This is a new application. if you have problems, email details [email protected]

Also, on the four-month rule, everybody starts fresh today. Prior purchases won't be tracked.

TWO NOTES: Two issues that came up yesterday.

The registration system for Deal of the Day is not connected to the registration system for The Batavian (for posting comments, for example). You need to register specifically with Deal of the Day to be able to buy deals (good idea, as many people did, to register in advance, so you're logged in and ready to go when a deal pops up that you want to buy before anybody else does).

When you are registering, it's just for our system. You will still need to log into your PayPal account to complete the purchase.

August 4, 2016 - 3:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, news.

Late last year, I came to the conclusion that if I wanted to build The Batavian into the kind of local media company I always intended it to become, I needed transform it from just a news media company into a media technology company.

In the first few years of this century, I worked at a newspaper in California, the Ventura County Star, where I was a web application developer. In other words, I wrote code all day. The applications I built made millions of dollars for our parent company, E.W. Scripps, and won industry awards. The work set me on a path to executive jobs, which brought me to New York and eventually to Batavia, where Billie and I decided we wanted to stay when the last executive job went away.

Until last November, I hadn't written code in more than a decade. I always thought I should build an application to manage our deal of the day program better, but resisted doing it because of the amount of work involved.

For years, we've tried to do things we thought would help grow the business with vendors and/or open source software, but I was always a little dissatisfied with how things worked. That led me to the decision to go ahead and start writing code again.

I have big plans, big ambitions, but I started simply: Deal of the Day.

Today, we launch our new Deal of the Day web application. I'm pretty excited. It feels like a milestone to me because I believe the future of the media industry depends on companies being masters of their own technologies and data.

It's been slow going to get to this point. I've only been able to work in small increments, sometimes only 15 minutes in a day, or not at all on some days, because of all the other responsibilities that go with running The Batavian and the Wyoming County Free Press (and losing six weeks of work time because of eye surgery didn't help). Now I'll start taking those small increments of available time and work on these more ambitious projects.

Billie and I appreciate your loyal and enthusiastic support of The Batavian as we continue to work on this little experiment to rewrite the future of local news.

Below (or through this link) is our first new Deal of the Day post.

August 2, 2016 - 4:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, Batavia's List, sponsored posts, advertisement.

We've found many people like using Batavia's List since we launched it more than a year ago, especially for housing and jobs, but I'm among those who found the pricing scheme overly complicated.

So we've simplified it.

If you're placing an ad in jobs offered, housing or autos, there is a single, flat-fee of $5 for 14 days. No more tiered pricing or pricing for different categories. $5, one time, 14 days, that's it.

Garage sale posting remain free. And we've FIXED the software that controls it. So if you've tried posting a yard or garage sale and didn't see it appear, it will now appear on the map properly.

Private party ads for items for sale or wanted were free before and they are free now.

We're doing away with the business directory on the site -- for now, because I've got something else coming (speaking of that, look in the next few days for a whole new setup for Deal of the Day).

Finally: A CONTEST: Place a listing, any listing, on Batavia's List, between now and Aug. 31 and become eligible to win in a drawing a $100 gift card for Alex's Restaurant. No purchase necessary. If you need to post in one of the $5 categories, e-mail [email protected] and I'll send you back a coupon code for a free post.

June 13, 2016 - 9:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

Many readers probably remember that about three months ago I had surgery for a detached retina. I was unable to work for three weeks.

That surgery went well and I seem to have healed fine. Now it's time to have the silicon oil put in my eye to hold the retina in place while it healed removed. That surgery is this morning.

This time, the doctor says I can't work for a week.

At least, if all goes well, when it's over, my vision should be back to where it was.

We have our great freelancers to help with coverage, and Billie, of course, and our news partnerships with WBTA and 13WHAM to help out, so we should be fine, but that's why I won't be doing much over the next week.

May 28, 2016 - 8:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

We had a database error this morning and had to restore the site from a backup.

The good news is, we had a very recent backup available, 3 a.m. The bad news is, we still lost a couple of posts.

One was from Steve Ognibene about Batavia's boys and girls track teams winning Section V titles. Steve isn't available until tonight to repost it. Our apologies.

The other post was an accident on the Thruway and we can't recreate that post.

I don't think any user comments were lost.

March 14, 2016 - 7:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, news.

For at least two weeks, I'm going to be unable to do much work.

Friday morning I was diagnosed with a detached retina in my right eye. I'm having surgery this morning. I get to spend the next week in a constant facedown position. It will be at least two, possibly three, weeks before I can return to work.

Billie is going to step up and provide more news coverage. Our corps of freelance contributors are also ready to pitch in, as is our news partner WBTA.

You can help, too: If you there is something going on you think others in the community will be interested in knowing about, email photos and information to [email protected].

Anything related to advertising support, contact Lisa Ace at [email protected].

I'll have access to e-mail. I'll forward anything work related to Billie or Lisa.

As for me, I'll be fine. It's not going to be fun, but I get to catch up on all the movies and documentaries on Netflix that I never have time to watch. There's also the NCAA tournament starting, which I usually can only watch portions of here and there.

February 29, 2016 - 8:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

This morning I'm flying to New York City to attend a couple of days of a conference on local publishing that is focused on revenue ideas. It's kind of a big deal conference that the organizer tries to talk me into attending every year, so I thought I'd take a bite of the apple this year and see what I might learn.

As always, we've made arrangements to ensure there is still local news coverage while I'm away.

There's also this: One thing I've been focused on recently is how to improve the business of The Batavian, and one key to any improvement in anything is greater knowledge and insight. Last week we posted a link to a survey about digital subscriptions and the feedback prompted a new set of questions I wish I'd asked then. So, I've created a new survey to ask those questions.

Please help me get smarter by responding to the survey now. Click here.

For what it's worth, much of my curiosity on this topic is driven by trends and commentary I see going on in the news industry, so I wonder what I can learn from our own audience and how that might apply to the local news industry as a whole. So please take the survey.

February 18, 2016 - 5:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

You know us over here at The Batavian, we're always willing to experiment.

There's been a few publications recently, such as Wired Magazine, that are offering versions of their online editions without ads, or with fewer ads, to paid subscribers.

We thought we would give that idea a try.  

Here is a version of The Batavian without ads for you to try.

You can take this survey and let us know what you think.

If you have any questions, you can e-mail me at [email protected]. Also, let me know if you run into any technical glitches.

Anticipating one question I know the will come up: The main site, The Batavian, will remain sponsor supported and free.  

January 27, 2016 - 2:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

A while back, the app for The Batavian stopped updating correctly and I couldn't figure out why.

Without any intervention on my part, it's started working correctly again.

We've updated it to include not just the home page headlines but also obituaries and postings from Batavia's List.

We'll start using it again to send out push notifications for local breaking news.

To download your app, if you haven't already (and more than 600 people have): Droid | iPhone

January 20, 2016 - 7:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

Last night, our database crashed. All of the posts from yesterday were lost.

Thankfully, Google has saved copies (called a cache) and I should be able to restore everything. I'm starting that work now. I'll time stamp everything to yesterday's time of publication, so this post will remain at the top of the page through that process.

UPDATE 9 a.m.: Yesterday's posts are restored, but I couldn't get to comments, so the few comments left yesterday are lost. Sorry. Also, there was a non-injury rollover accident in Oakfield around 3 a.m. We weren't able to post about it because the site was down at that time.

October 15, 2015 - 7:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

As a guest of the New York Farm Bureau, I will be in Waterloo for the next two days to attend the Farm and Food Experience, a symposium for journalists on the agriculture industry. I was thrilled to be invited to attend. It's a great opportunity to learn more about farming.

Naturally, news coverage will be more limited while I'm away, but will continue.

October 10, 2015 - 12:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia's List, thebatavian, Sponsored Post, advertisement.


I'm long overdue for taking care of this -- we promised to give away an iPad Mini to one lucky poster during the first month of our newest Web site, Batavia's List.

The winner is Mike McDonald. Mike increased his odds during the month-long contest by posting three home rental ads.

Since he already owns a tablet, he's donating his prize to John Kennedy School so it might go to a student who can't afford such a device.

We have a new contest: Post something to the marketplace on Batavia's List between now and Nov. 10 and win a $100 gift certificate to Larry's Steakhouse.  No purchase necessary. To post for free e-mail [email protected] for a coupon code for a free post.

We're also now running our community calendar through Batavia's List. Post your events on our calendar and they appear on both sites. You must register for Batavia's List to post calendar items. Once you do, and you're logged in, you will see a button for posting events on the Calendar Page.

If you're on Facebook, you can get updates of postings to Batavia's List by liking Batavia's List on Facebook

Finally, please be sure to sign up for our new daily e-mail newsletter

September 30, 2015 - 5:00pm

We're ending this little experiment we called The Batavian Club. It's a lot of work that we're always behind on for too little return. That's the bad news.

The good news is, we're still going to offer the same fantastic deals with local businesses in special gift certificate packages.

Essentially, it's The Batavian Club without calling it a club. The big difference on our end is we save the work on tracking members and printing membership cards, which always seemed to bog us down and create a lot of unnecessary expense. We will be able to send out money-saving gift certificates much sooner after an order is placed when we don't have to make batches of individual membership cards. 

For local businesses, it's the same great promotion as before. There's no additional expense beyond honoring the gift cards when customers come in. If your business is not already participating, call me at (585) 250-4118.

For those who had recurring payments set up in PayPal, I just canceled all of those so there will be no future payments from your account. There are three people who have joined since we last sent out membership packages. They will get a refund. For all other members, they should be up-to-date with membership cards and gift certificates and the stated expiration dates still apply.

August 28, 2015 - 6:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, Batavia's List, Sponsored Post, advertisement.


Visit Batavia's List and post your ad today!

Also: Sign up for our new daily e-mail newsletter. Get the day's headlines plus the latest marketplace posts delivered to your inbox every day at 5 p.m.

And: Like Batavia's List on Facebook.


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Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license.
Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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