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April 22, 2015 - 9:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, media, Bill Brown.

Press release:

The legacy of the late William F. Brown Jr., noted Batavia author, broadcaster and journalist, will live on through a scholarship established by The Jerome Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that distributes funds to benefit United Memorial Medical Center and other health-related purposes.

The William F. Brown Jr. Memorial Scholarship, an annual $1,000 grant, will be awarded to a deserving high school senior residing in and graduating from a school in Genesee County whose intention is to pursue at least a four-year degree in the fields of Journalism, Communications, or Public Relations (in print, radio, television or digital media).

Brown, who died on Nov. 29, 2014 at the age of 91, was the former owner and president of WBTA Radio, a longtime correspondent for The Buffalo News and a frequent contributor to The Batavia Daily News.

An expert on Genesee County history, he wrote numerous books and articles on notable people and events, including the unsolved Linden murders, Batavia Downs, Redfield Parkway and the Mancuso family.

He also was president of the board of directors of the former St. Jerome Hospital and a charter member and trustee emeritus of The Jerome Foundation.

“Bill Brown contributed greatly to the quality of life in Genesee County through his writing, and as a member of numerous community and civic organizations,” said Justin Calarco-Smith, board president of The Jerome Foundation. “He enriched our lives and we hope to be able to continue that spirit of giving with this scholarship that honors his memory.”

A committee of directors from the foundation will judge the scholarship applicants based upon academic merit, creative accomplishment, community service and leadership.

Applications are available at guidance offices at the nine Genesee County high schools or by contacting Martha Spinnegan, administrative assistant for The Jerome Foundation, at [email protected].

The completed application must be mailed to The Jerome Foundation, P.O. Box 249, Batavia, NY, 14020, and postmarked by May 8 to be considered.

July 12, 2013 - 5:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, thebatavian, media, present tense books and gifts.

Tomorrow at 11 a.m., Dan Kennedy, author of "The Wired City," a book about the changes in journalism in the Digital Age, will be at Present Tense on Washington Avenue, Batavia.

Batavia's little corner of the media world is featured in the book and Kennedy will read a portion of the book and talk about what he's observed about media in Batavia.

Here's an interview from this morning on WBTA's Main and Center (mp3).

NOTE: I can't be there at 11 a.m. because I need to be at the Oatka Festival Parade, but I plan on stopping in the store about 12:15 p.m. or so.

April 18, 2013 - 8:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, wbta, pembroke, media.

Pembroke native Rich Funke, who started his broadcast career at WBTA, will receive a lifetime achievement award from St. John Fisher College.

The award is named after Jack Palvino, a member of the university's first graduating class who became well known in Rochester media.

The award ceremony is this evening.

Funke's broadcast career in Rochester and Batavia spans 40 years.

His first big assignment in broadcast news was covering the Attica prison riot for WBTA.

(via WHEC)

William F. Brown, Jr. Earns Honorary Status in Batavia Rotary Club

Long-time Batavia Rotary Club member, William F. Brown Jr. has been recognized by the Batavia Rotary Club for his commitment and dedication to "service above self."  Bill earned Honorary status by distinguishing himself through "meritorious service in the furtherance of Rotary ideals." Bill joined the Batavia Rotary Club in January, 1960.  He is a past president (1974-75) and was one of the first Batavia Rotary members to be awarded a Paul Haris Fellow.  Bill was chairman of Rotary Radio Days for 35 years and was a popular participant of the annual Rotary Comedy Show. 

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September 14, 2009 - 1:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in journalism, media.

pew_news_trust.gifMore people than ever distrust traditional news media, according to a new Pew study.

In this year’s survey, 63 percent of respondents said news articles were often inaccurate and only 29 percent said the media generally “get the facts straight” — the worst marks Pew has recorded — compared with 53 percent and 39 percent in 2007.

Seventy-four percent said news organizations favored one side or another in reporting on political and social issues, and the same percentage said the media were often influenced by powerful interests. Those, too, are the worst marks recorded in Pew surveys.

Of course, part of the problem is unbiased reporting is humanly impossible. We're all the products of our backgrounds, experiences and education that shapes our perceptions, our own sense of reality. News reporters make decisions every day based on their own perceptions. What is objectively true to one reporter is not necessarily true to another. Yet, news consumers have been educated to believe news reporting should be objective.

Because objectivity is impossible, people tend to believe the only objective news reporting is that which conforms with their own views. That's why so many Republicans believe Fox News is "fair and balanced," and on the left, only MSNBC tells the truth.

One of the enduring questions of the electronic-news era is this: are we deeper into an age of greater acrimony amongst partisan combatants because they see only one version of truth; or will the opportunity for more voices to be heard eventually lead to more open dialogue and a greater understanding of the issues of the day?

August 30, 2009 - 10:36pm
posted by Robert Harding in The Batavian, journalism, howard owens, media, Blogs, New Media.

Earlier today, Howard authored a post entitled, "The Batavian is an open forum" that discussed, in my view anyway, the current state of The Batavian and the evolution of The Batavian. It was an interesting take by Howard, but I think he missed the mark in a few areas.

I have been a fan of this blog since its inception. It is because of The Batavian that the Daily News (who had long been without a website) decided to join the rest of the newspaper world in introducing a website to the fold. The Batavian also proved to be key during the 2008 elections - a perfect year for a blog such as this one to start and get off the ground running.

But I do take issue with a few things Howard said in his post. In discussing the political leanings of readers and contributors here at The Batavian, Howard said the following: 

There was a time when Republicans thought The Batavian was hostile to their positions. Many of the original members of the site were active in local Democratic politics, and I think Philip Anselmo leaned a bit to the liberal side. 

While I espoused a localist-libertarian position, I was (and am) non-partisan.

In this environment, Republicans didn't see many of their ideas being put forward and thought their viewpoints would be unwelcome.

Now, I'm hearing the Democrats are thinking of The Batavian, especially since Philip left,  is hostile to their party and positions.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Naturally, I'm going to be critical of big government programs being pushed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand or more taxes and spending from David Paterson, but that's because as  a libertarian, I think those are bad policies. It has nothing to do with party affiliation.  I'm critical of Republicans when they espouse more government solutions to problems.

I don't know how accurate it is to say that Republicans "thought The Batavian was hostile to their positions." Let's be real: The Republicans weren't reading. There were a few Republican contributors, including Genesee County Legislator Jerome Grasso, but the Republicans weren't represented here. It is one thing to claim hostility. It's another thing to be not active. The Republicans weren't active. The Democrats took advantage of having a new medium and did what we do best: We used it. We didn't see it as something foreign.

The Republicans weren't posting any of their ideas. And to say that their viewpoints would be unwelcome is a joke. If they aren't posting and aren't trying to post, how can we make such a statement and claim it as fact?

I'm not sure where Howard gets his facts about Democrats labeling this blog as "hostile to their party and positions." That word "hostile" is getting tossed around rather liberally (no pun intended) and I'm not sure where the perception of hostility is derived. I think the belief is that Howard has tried a little too hard to try and erase and previous views that this blog was friendly to Democrats. He might not agree with that view, but that is something I have noticed over the last several months and I know I'm not the only one who shares that view. Does that mean we believe that this blog is anti-Democrats as a result? No.

It is no secret that Democrats/progressives have had great success in online organizing and with the blogosphere. The Republicans/conservatives haven't had the same success. If that is what they consider "hostile", then maybe they need to be more proactive than reactive. I recall Grasso mentioning this same point. He called on his Republican friends to contribute. Apparently, instead of showing up, they chose to stew about it and allege "hostility."

Unless a blog has a certain identity (progressive, conservative, libertarian, socialist, etc.), then there really isn't a need to worry about who is utilizing the blog more than others. If there are more conservatives utilizing a blog like The Batavian, all the power to them. The Batavian isn't targeting one ideology over another. So there is no reason to try so hard to balance things out, nor is it necessary to try and debunk any claims by one party or another about one side being favored over another.

May 19, 2009 - 3:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chamber of commerce, News 8, media, Lynn Freeman.

lynnfreeman_interview_news8.jpg

I came across a crew of News 8 out of Rochester on Main Street today interviewing Lynn Freeman, president of the Chamber of Commerce, outside the chamber's office. It sounded like they were talking about business development issues.

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