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March 10, 2014 - 5:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

Howard Owens, publisher and photographer for The Batavian, won a second-place award for photography in the spot news category in a monthly contest sponsored by the National Press Photographers Association.

NPPA sponsors a monthly clip contest in its 11 regions. Genesee County is part of Region 2, which comprises all of New York, the eastern half of Canada and international members based overseas.

Owens won the award for his coverage of the Baskin Livestock fire in November.

The award for Owens was announced last week along with a third-place award in October in sports for Mark Gutman, staff photographer for the Daily News.

In 2013, Owens received a third-place award in March for general news coverage and third place in June for feature/multiple photos.

NPPA awards points throughout the year for photos chosen in first through fifth place (only first through third winners are publicly announced), as well as a single point for each entry.

For the year, Owens was awarded 154 points, good for 15th place in Region 2. Tops was Steven Russell of the The Toronto Star, with 1,132 points.

Gutman had 90 points and Nick Serrata, who freelances for the Daily News, as well as other publications, had 80 points.

Owens, Gutman and Serrata were the only photographers in WNY to place in the top 20.

March 9, 2014 - 9:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, top posts.
March 6, 2014 - 6:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

Longtime readers may remember I didn't work for a day or two in the summer of 2009 because of cataract surgery.

That was for the right eye.

That worked out pretty well because it made my right eye -- my camera shooting eye -- a perfect 20/20.

Now it's time for the left eye.

I go into UMMC this morning to have Dr. Li from University Eye replace my left lens with an implant that will bring to an end the foggy, triple vision of that eye.

Today, I'll be pretty much out of commission. Tomorrow, I'll take it easy. I expect to be shooting Notre Dame's basketball game in Buffalo on Saturday.

We have some coverage lined up for today -- including a couple of stories I actually wrote last night that will self-publish later this morning.

Billie will be around, of course, listening to the scanner (not that we have totally locked in the county's new system yet).

Lisa Ace will be holding down the fort in the office today, handling any site sponsor needs.

BTW: I've got to tell you what I think is a pretty amazing story, a modern miracle, from my visit to University Eye a few weeks ago. All summer and winter, my vision had been declining, even in my right eye. It turns out, the lens was fogged over. Dr. Li used a laser for less than 60 seconds, just a few zaps, to clear the cloudiness away. Within an hour of leaving the office, I was back to 20/20 again. The sudden change in vision felt quite literately like scales falling away from my eyes. Modern technology can just be so amazing some times.

I'm looking forward to being 20/20 in both eyes for the first time since I was about 14.

March 1, 2014 - 10:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

It was five years ago today that Billie and I took over ownership of The Batavian.

The Batavian began May 1, 2008 as a project I headed for Fairport-based GateHouse Media, but at the end of February, 2009, GateHouse changed directions with their internet strategy and The Batavian became available to us if we wanted it.

As transplants from California, Billie and I found we really loved Western New York and didn't want to leave, and I also firmly believed in The Batavian and the need to prove that there was an audience in a typical American community for local online news and advertising.

The Batavian is now one of the leading online-only news sites in the country -- the subject of books, national media columns and news coverage and closely watched by those in the news industry who fret over the future of local journalism.

But most importantly is how Billie and I have been welcomed and embraced by the Genesee County community.  We're so grateful for the support of local residents and local businesses.  We've made so many good friends and received so much appreciation for what we do with The Batavian that we sometimes feel amazed by the support.

Thank you to all of you for five great years. We look forward to covering the news of Genesee County and doing all we can to promote local businesses for years to come.

February 19, 2014 - 6:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

I'm flying to California this morning. I'll be spending time with family. I'll be attending my mother's funeral on Saturday.

We've made all of the usual provisions for continuing coverage while I'm away. Billie will still be here and on the scanner as usual. Alecia Kaus will help with breaking news and our news partner WBTA will help with coverage.

Good luck to all of our local athletes in sectional play this weekend. I regret that I'll miss the basketball games I would have covered, but Nick Sabato will be covering games.

February 5, 2014 - 11:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

I'll be out of town for a couple of days to attend to a family matter.

There will still, however, be coverage of news in Genesee County while I'm gone. Billie remains in town. Alecia Kaus is helping out, as usual. We can pick up stories as needed from WBTA. I will, of course, have my laptop with me.

January 1, 2014 - 9:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, top posts.

In 2013, The Batavian was visited 5,909,231 times and we served 9,794,627 page views. That's up from 2012 when there were 3.8 million visits and 5.4 million page views.

Here are the most viewed stories for 2013:

It's been four months since I posted the monthly top 10 most viewed stories, so below are the top posts for December, November, October and September.

December:

November:

October:

September

December 15, 2013 - 1:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, Sponsored Post, advertisement, The Batavian Club.

There's a little time left to get a 2014 calendar of Genesee County photographs.  We'll accept orders up until noon tomorrow.

Here's how you can get a calendar: Buy one or become a new member of The Batavian Club and receive a calendar for free (existing members get a discount).

The calendar by itself is $25, plus sales tax, plus $4 for shipping and handling, if you're not a member.

For Club members (check your e-mail for details), it's $14, plus tax, plus $4 shipping and handling.

Use the Paypal buttons below to join the Club or the button on the bottom to buy calendars All calendar orders must be received by Dec. 16.

Members receive $325 in gift certificates for local businesses.

TO JOIN: Use PayPal buttons below, or to pay by check (annual only) or credit card, click here to download form. Or call (585) 250-4118 to pay by credit card.

We've set up four membership tiers -- Subscribe to the club monthly as one person or as a household, or annually at either of those levels. 

Members receive a membership card, bumper sticker and a package of gift certificates to local businesses. 

It's important to note, this isn't a subscription to read the site. Our stories remain free to read. This is a voluntary subscription with benefits (and we'll add benefits as it grows).

Join via PayPal below, or for annual and one-time memberships paid by check, click here to download this form (monthly, recurring payment memberships must be via PayPal or credit card.) To pay by credit card, use the form, or call (585) 250-4118.

Monthly Single Membership, recurring payment - $5 per month
Includes membership card and bumper sticker, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Monthly Household Membership, recurring payment - $10 per month
Includes two membership cards and two bumper stickers, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Annual Single Membership, recurring payment - $50 per year
Includes membership card, bumper sticker, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Annual Household Membership, recurring payment - $100 per year
Includes two membership cards and two bumper stickers, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Annual membership, one payment of $60
Includes membership card, bumper sticker, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

Annual household membership, one payment of $120
Includes two membership cards, bumper sticker, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

Order Calendars for $25 each:

Number of Calendars

 

December 11, 2013 - 9:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

We just learned that our series on Genesee County Farms and Farmers is receiving an online feature writing award from the New York State Agriculture Society.

We entered the first installments from the series earlier this year.

The award will be presented at the Society's annual forum in Liverpool on Jan. 9.

Tom Rivers, former staff writer for the Batavia Daily News and editor now of Orleans Hub, has previously been honored by the society for his stories on local agriculture.

December 10, 2013 - 12:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

It's a rather unexpected trip, but Billie and I are boarding a plane in the morning bound for California.

We will return Tuesday, Dec. 17.

As is typical when we travel, I'll have my computer and stay connected to The Batavian and will have some news to post.

Alecia Kaus, Bonnie Marrocco and Nick Sabato will also be contributing stories. Alecia will be monitor the scanner for us.

December 10, 2013 - 12:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

A server glitch caused us to lose anything and everything posted to the site since 6:05 p.m. -- your comments, my stories, any classified ads posted. I'll endeavor to rewrite the stories -- instead of getting a little more sleep before we head to the Buffalo airport. You'll need to repost anything you still want posted to the site.

December 7, 2013 - 10:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, Sponsored Post, advertisment.

More than 150 people have already downloaded our new iPhone app.

Today, a problem that was preventing news alert notifications from going out was fixed, so now those users will actually get the alerts we send out.

To download the iPhone version, click here.

To download the Droid version, click here.

November 30, 2013 - 6:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, Sponsored Post, advertisement.

If you have an iPhone, you can now download The Batavian's mobile app from the app store. Click here for a link to the app

It's a very simple app: It's a feed of what is posted to the home page and we will send alerts of select stories we post to the home page. The cost is $1.99. At best, with fee, we hope to offset our costs in providing the app.

For the Droid version, click here.

November 5, 2013 - 8:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, thebatavian, Batavia Eats.

When I was in Chicago, the folks at Zebrareach showed me their new online ordering system for restaurants. I thought it was great, so a little less than a month later, we're launching BataviaEats.com.

Right now, we have 10 local restaurants participating. We've completed menus for five of them, with the rest scheduled to be finished before the end of the week. There are also four or five other restaurants I believe will sign up, and there are several restaurant owners I haven't talked with yet. So I'm sure we will be adding several more locally owned restaurants to BataviaEats.com.

BataviaEats.com will become your local online portal for ordering from great local restaurants (one of the blessings of Genesee County is our restaurants).

Here are the menus available now:

Coming within days will be City Slickers, D&R Depot, Sammy Hill's and Sweet Ecstasy Bakery.

Also, Big Pauly's and T.F. Brown's have also added their online ordering menu to their Web sites, and the other restaurants with Web sites will also, I'm sure, add their menus.

Restaurant owners: Want to sign up? Contact me at [email protected] or (585) 250-4118. There's no set-up cost, no monthly fee, just a small transaction fee plus the standard credit card fees. You just need a way to receive orders -- fax, e-mail or through a Web browser.

October 26, 2013 - 9:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

Here's a bit of a surprise -- The Batavian's new mobile app, released earlier this week, is ranked #25 in Top Paid News and Magazine Apps. It's the only local news app in the top 25. The overall national ranking is #151. The average rating is 4.2. 

If you have a Droid smartphone, click here to download it.

If you've downloaded it, please rate it.

October 24, 2013 - 4:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

If you're a Android smartphone owner, download The Batavian's new breaking news app from Google Play.

In the first two days since we released it, there have been 30 downloads, which I think is pretty darn good.

We've submitted the app to Apple for inclusion in the iTunes store. It could take two or three weeks for the app to be approved (knock on wood that it will be).

It's a very simple app. Right now, it's just a feed of what appears on our home page and the ability for us to send you push notifications.

And that's really the point of the app: Push notifications, or alerts. If you download the app, we will use push notifications to alert you to breaking news, important news, features and important sports stories. We won't do it for every minor scanner call and routine press releases. Some stories will be a judgment call, but the idea will be to alert you to things posted that we want to draw your attention to and hope you'll want to be sure and know about right away.

October 22, 2013 - 9:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

A long time ago a reader said to me, "I wish I could get a notification on my phone when you post a new story," and I thought that was a good idea.

After some research, I decided creating an app would be the best course of action, but how to get it done? I had a hard time finding an affordable programmer I could trust and none of the DIY tools seemed satisfactory.

A few days ago, I found a tool I wanted to try and after some futzing about, I uploaded our first app to Google Play (so the app right now is only available for Droid -- it's coming for iPhone, but it's a little harder to get into the Apple Store and that process could take two or three weeks).

It's a very simple app. Right now, it's just a feed of what appears on our home page and the ability for us to send you push notifications.

And that's really the point of the app: Push notifications, or alerts. If you download the app, we will use push notifications to alert you to breaking news, important news, features and important sports stories. We won't do every minor scanner call and routine press releases. Some stories will be a judgment call, but the idea will be to alert you to things posted that we want to draw your attention to and hope you'll want to be sure and know about right away.

Getting the app to this stage has cost us $150 and with hosting fees, there will be recurring costs, so we've set a one-time fee on the app of $1.49.

Here's the link to Google Play to download it. Or search Google Play for "The Batavian."

October 10, 2013 - 3:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

For the second time in three years, The Batavian has won a General Excellence in Digital Journalism Award from the Inland Press Association.

This time, The Batavian comes in second in the under 50,000 circulation category (we're placed in that category based on our area's population size) behind The Santa Fe New Mexican.

Three years ago, The Batavian received a third-place award.

The judges wrote:

The Batavian is what good digital news sites should aspire to be. It features excellent journalism, creative interactivity and is clearly ingrained in its community. Readers feel they know what it's like living in Batavia from reading this site.

The awards will be presented later this month at Inland's 128th annual meeting later this month in Chicago. The Batavian, unfortunately, won't be attending.

There are more than 1,200 print newspaper members of Inland and The Batavian is just one of only a few online-only publications that have joined.

October 2, 2013 - 7:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

Today starts a round of travel for me. I'm heading off to Syracuse this morning where I'll visit the S.I. Newhouse School of Communication at Syracuse University. I'm looking forward to meeting with a group of students in a news start-up class. I'll also get to see some of the forward-thinking projects news business students are working on. It's been about six years since I visited the school, so I'm looking forward to dropping in again.

Tomorrow, I'm flying to Chicago. Each of the past three Octobers I've gone to Chicago for what was known as the Block-by-Block conference. It was sponsored by academic foundations interested in promoting local online news. That funding was of a limited duration, but what BxB spawned was the formation of an association known as Local Independent Online News Publishers (LION for short). I'm a board member. We have more than 100 members. We've managed to pull off organizing our own first-ever LION conference. So I'll be at that.

I don't return until Saturday night. I'll miss the Wine Walk. The Batavian is participating in the Wine Walk. Lisa Ace and Dee Neilans, as last year (and as Dee has done for us the past three years), are going to be pouring wine at our location in the foyer of the Masonic Temple building. I just won't be there.

Coverage, of course, during the next few days, will be limited, but not missing. Billie will still be here posting items as they come along. I'll also be able to do what I can do from a distance and within my time constraints.

September 30, 2013 - 3:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, thebatavian, GO ART!.

Press release:

GO ART! presents its 13th annual Genesee-Orleans Community Arts Awards Gala Dinner & Auction at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26 at Terry Hills Golf Course and Banquet Facility, 5122 Clinton Street Road (Route 33), Batavia. Each year, GO ART! recognizes the extraordinary contributions in art and culture made by individuals and organizations in the Genesee-Orleans region at this unique event. This year’s honorees are:

Community Arts Awards:

  • Business -- Laura Gardner, “a lily & a sparrow” in Medina
  • Business -- Howard Owens, The Batavian
  • Cultural Organization -- Barb Toal & Friends of Batavia Peace Garden
  • Artist -- “The Humans” – John Dumrese, Richard Doolan, Gar Trusselle, William Kuhns, Martin Busch and the late Danny Long
  • Artist -- Carol “Kay” McMahon, musician from Genesee County

GO ART! Board of Directors Special Recognition: Mary Pat Hancock, chair of the Genesee County Legislature

Linda L. Blanchet Award: To be announced

Tickets are $27/non-members, $25/members, and advance reservations are required. Enjoy a delectable dinner and desserts while local band “The Old Hippies” featuring Bill McDonald provides musical entertainment. Dress is business casual.

A silent auction featuring quality work by local artists, artisans and cultural organizations will be held throughout the evening, and the annual Gala Raffle will be held as well. The Grand Prize this year is 14K white gold pendant necklace with black and white diamonds .50ptw, compliments of Valle Jewelers; Value $1,250.

The Raffle tickets have a requested donation of $5 each or five for $20, and are available at GO ART! and at the event. Winners will be selected in a random drawing at the GO ART! Gala on Oct. 26; you do not need to be present to win.

For more information, call 585.343.9313, e-mail [email protected], or visit www.GOart.org.

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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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