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The Batavian is 15: we have a new logo, and a new way for you to support local journalism

By Howard B. Owens
The Batavian Eagle

Today marks two important events for The Batavian.

It is our 15th Anniversary.  The Batavian’s official first day of publication was May 1, 2008.

We’ve come a long way from those early days when we were thrilled the first time 1,000 people checked out the site in a day to now reaching 10,000 to 14,000 people per day.

We’re also launching a new website.  The look isn’t changing as much as the important steps we're taking to improve our community coverage and the overall efficiency of the site.

We’re also asking readers to take a more direct role in helping to fund local journalism by becoming supporters through our new Early Access Pass. Those who do sign up for Early Access will be able to read selected bylined stories as soon as they are published. Those who don’t will need to wait four hours before getting access to the full story.

New Logo
As part of our forward-looking effort, we’re introducing a new logo.

The Upton Monument is Genesee County’s most distinctive landmark, and the Eagle at its pinnacle is a symbol of ambition and freedom, so I’ve long wanted to incorporate the Eagle into our masthead.  We also decided to go after a more modern, forward-looking design.  The Batavian remains locally owned, and we steadfastly maintain our independence.  We also are deeply rooted in our community.

The new logo (designed by Lisa Ace, our creative manager), we think, symbolizes our community and our independence, and with a clean, modern design and an eagle eye -- we can look forward and outward in an effort to be up on the latest in current and breaking news right here in Genesee County.  

Site Design
The software The Batavian runs on was getting dated, so it was time for a significant upgrade.  We saw that as a time to slightly tweak our design.

We know some people think our site design isn’t very sophisticated with full stories and all the ads on the home page.  But here’s the thing: what we do works. We often hear from readers how easy our site is to use. Readers tell us they like all the ads of local businesses on the home page.  It acts like a local business directory.  Local business owners love it because they know their ad is being displayed to thousands of local residents every day.

Early Access Pass
I’ve been publishing The Batavian for 15 years.  It’s been hard, grueling, and stressful work at times. I can’t charge forward with the same energy I once had.  I rely more on people helping me, especially with recent changes in my life circumstances. 

We now have three hard-working and talented full-time employees and some wonderful freelancers, and we need to be able to hire more help.  We simply can’t cover all the news in Genesee County without your help.

Covering local news is time-consuming and that makes it expensive and difficult to get to everything of interest or importance.  There is no cheap way to do it.  News can’t remain free forever.

So, we’re going to ask our most loyal supporters to take a more direct role in funding local journalism.  

We’ve come up with a unique, perhaps first-of-its-kind program in the news industry: The Early Access Pass. It’s unique in that it won’t force you to pay to read the news.  It’s simply a reminder on freshly published stories that we need your help to continue to bring to you the news of your community. When you click a link for a story published within the previous four hours, you will be provided an option to sign up for Early Access, or you can come back four hours later to read it. The choice is yours.

The Batavian has long dominated Genesee County news by publishing most of the news of Genesee County first.  That’s still our mission.  With Early Access, you can become among the first to know about important news while everybody else waits.  Early Access will apply only to original reporting, stories with a byline, and not to press releases, posts primarily of photos, or scanner reports. 

We’ve kept the cost of Early Access extremely low, so all of our loyal supporters can afford to sign up -- $8 per month or $80 per year. If you're interested in a group rate, email me:

Local news is essential to the health of a community, and we hope you value what we do enough to support us as we endeavor to do more of it.  We work hard to cover our community, and we appreciate our readers.  Please support our efforts by signing up for Early Access today.

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