Howard Owens is a digital media pioneer. He started publishing local news online in 1995 when very few local news outlets had web sites. The header image on the site depicts the film camera he used early in his career and the press pass from his year on the staff of the Carlsbad Journal. For more on Howard's professional background, read his LinkedIn profile.
HowardOwens.com is the personal web site of Howard Owens and covers his range of interests -- political localism and libertarianism, music and personal interests, as well as his professional interests.
Howard is currently publisher of The Batavian and lives in Batavia, N.Y.
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Daily Archives: July 19, 2006
The other day, I posted something about stumbling across an old Online-News e-mail discussion list archive.
Proud Papa Steve Outing linked to the post.
There are some big media names on that list, and a few smaller papers that were ahead of the curve and doing great work, such as the Raleigh News and Observer (NandO), the Casper Star Tribune, Akron Beacon Journal, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, etc.
I don’t remember the list at all. I was a subscriber to Online-News at the time, but I must have missed the post, because this is one post I think I would have remembered.
Here’s the bottom of the list:
60. Tampa Tribune (Tampa) 61. London Free Press (London 62. MIT The Tech 63. Digital Missourian 64. OC Register 65. Orlando Sentinel America Online 66. East County Online(San Diego) 67. Evansville Courier (Evansville) 68. Newsday Direct Prodigy 69. Capital Gazette (Annapolis) 70. On Wisconsin Milwaukee Journal Prodigy
Holy crap! East County Online, the site I started on a shoe string (thanks to Ron James) and a beginner’s HTML book was, in 1995, among the Top 70 most popular news and information sites according to Wired.
I had no idea. Or I had forgotten.
Of course, Jeff Perlman had to rain on our parade … but good ol’ Joe Shea rides to the rescue … (and the exchange demonstrates, somewhat, what the list culture was like back in the day, and maybe why I didn’t follow this thread (and read this one, too).
I still think it’s amazing that ECO made the list.
due credit to Steve Saint, who owned Forum Publications at the time and provided ECO with most of its content.
Writing for GigaOM, Robert Young advices Google to buy a Hollywood studio and disrupt the current film and TV business model.
It’s not as crazy as it sounds.
Read the whole thing.
Wendy McCaw, owner of the Santa Barbara News-Press, has reportedly hired a crisis PR expert.
I’m not sure McCaw is ready to taste the bitter medicine necessary to cure this mess.
I’m guessing this new expert will merely try to help white wash the situation, not try to fix it.
That said, the crisis can be fixed. I’m just not sure McCaw is ready to do what is necessary to repair her damaged reputation, the reputation of the News-Press and set the company back on proper footing.
- Admit she’s in over her head. She knows nothing about journalism or running a newspaper. She should admit it.
- Admit mistakes where made. Admit those mistakes in exact detail.
- Announce that she is stepping away from daily operations of the newspaper, that she is forming a board of directors, composed of four or five local business leaders, to help her guide the paper, but that she is going to hire a professional, experienced publisher. She will provide the general strategic oversight, enjoy the perks of local media ownership, but daily operations will be handled by a trained and professional staff.
- Announce that the new publisher will make all future personnel decisions, including whether to rehire any staff who resigned during the crisis.
- Publish all of this in her newspaper, apologize to the readers for how she handled the situation (including, what appears to be lying to the community), and promise that from now how, under her stewardship, the News-Press will aim only at the highest journalistic standards with a goal toward serving both readers and advertisers better.
Ten bucks she won’t do it.
At some point, you have to wonder if Home Depot is even going to need newspapers any longer. They already have a robust and effective e-mail marketing program that could supplant their circulars someday. They produce their own content. Now they’re accepting advertising on their Web site from suppliers. And it sounds like the kind of advertising program newspapers should be offering their best customers.