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.
- Bob Netherton on Why I’m rooting for Vance Albitz
- seagazer101 on ‘Lede’ vs. ‘Lead’
- Pamela Lagahid on IFRA launches second vertical search engine for media
- kapiyo on My new Nikon F4
- bradleyplunk on Chris Tolles brings some stats to the anonymous vs. registration debate
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Daily Archives: November 28, 2006
When I first announced my new job, a friend who grew up near Rochester immediately raved about Nick’s and the “Garbage Plate.”Â I still haven’t tried it, but at least I’ve seen the video. Continue reading
Disclosure: I’m on the New Media Federation board of directors (an NAA-sponsored group). Continue reading
One of the reasons I wanted us to aggressively pursue video in Ventura was video seemed like an opportunity. When you consider all the ways that newspapers are being disrupted, why not spend a little time to try and figure out who newspapers can disrupt — among the chief candidates: Local television.
I don’t think it’s yet too late for newspapers to get aggressive about video, but time is running short. Other disruptors are already established. Michael Arrington is now recommending that we just go ahead and declare television dead and move on.
Rob Curley wants to make newspaper video more like television video. I say, let’s make it different. Let’s make it more like the web. Studio55 vs. TimesCast. At least to start, and when we get to Curley’s magic three years out, and we’re streaming directly to the big device in the living room, then we can evolve from Toyota Corolla stage to the Lexus LX model. By then, we should understand what that model should look like. We don’t know that today, but I bet it ain’t like broadcast television.
UPDATE: Jack Lail gets it.
If innovation and disruption come from small startups (or startup-like operations) who come out of nowhere with a product that is good enough to meet a need, then operate like they do.
Two guys in a garage or dorm room didn’t create a behemoth Internet portal with mail, maps, movies and more; they created a collection of links. It grew into a behemoth. Craig Newmark started with an email to friends and grew it into Craigslist. Start with what you can do and make it better. Just do.
UPDATE II: A poster at B-Roll.net takes a swipe at my “mypoic arrogance” and notes, fairly, that not all TV news coverage is bad. That’s true of course, but the opening is in the fact that most of it is bad, which the poster cops to.
Bold words from an industry hemorrhaging market share. Honestly, I wish them all the luck in the world, for the amalgamation of our two mediums would greatly improve the information stream – and where better to showcase it than on-line? Trouble is, too many in the print realm dismiss local TV efforts as entirely without merit. They gleefully point to the lowest common denominators, the â€œKiller Dust-Bunnies Hiding Under Your Childâ€™s Bedâ€? series-piece syndrome. Granted, the worst of my lot is guilty of such tripe, but I for one donâ€™t deal in this bottom-feeding and neither do those who share my logo. Print folk would do themselves a huge favor by putting aside their contempt and taking a long hard look at the very best of broadcast news, starting with the NPPA reels readily available on-line.
In my own defense, I just want to say that I’ve always said newspaper video needs to evolve and get better, and I’ve sent videographers to study with TV shooters — we have a lot we can learn. Also, this isn’t about individuals. It’s about instiutions. Television news as an institution as a lot to answer for when it reaches the pearly gates. Of course, print journalists have their own sins to atone for. So, it’s about instiutions and opportunities. I see opportunity in another institutions weakness. See ya at the lunch table, Lenslinger (why is that handle familiar to me?)
UPDATE III: Lenslinger also has a blog and his post is also available here.
The Praized Blog presents 16 Rules for Social Media.
I think 16 over complicates things. Here’s how I would edit down the list (I’ve also changed wording).
- Keep content fresh, which leads to more in-bound links.
- Make tagging and social bookmarking easy
- Reward inbound links (i.e., trackbacks)
- Make your content portable so it can easily be added to other sites
- Be a resource — link to anybody and everybody (including competitors) so that your visitors always find your site valuable
- Reward frequent users (promote their work, develop a ranking system)
- Participate (join the conversation as an equal)
And that, my friends, is what all newspaper.com sites should be doing. Continue reading
Journalists love awards. A Pulitzer, of course, is the granddaddy of all media awards. So today’s announcement, that the board will now consider a range of online initiatives, will probably do more to drive online innovation in content than any range of API studies. Besides accepting submissions related to online databases, interactive media and video, the board is also putting an emphasis on local reporting. These are key strategic targets for the online newspaper industry, so this is welcome news. Continue reading
Steve Yelvington shares three Pew graphs that show participation sites are dominating audience growth over more tradition-bound rivals. This pretty much mirrors my much less scientific look at traffic in August using Alexa. Continue reading
Ten years ago, David Siegel was the biggest name in web design. Even before his book, “Creating Killer Web Sites” was released, Siegel was a household name to HTML authors. Before there were blogs, Siegel had the prototypical personal web site.
I stumbled across Siegel’s name the other day and thought — “whatever happened to …”
Siegel taught us how to use tables for presentation and how to use the single-pixel gif trick to manipulate element placement. These were not, are not, things you are supposed to do with HTML. But in a time before style sheets, what was a visually oriented designer supposed to do?
In looking through his past, I found a couple of articles in which he renounces high-end web design, such as this one based on a 1998 interview.
But Siegel does accept one final reason why the beautiful sites he pointed to in 1995 and 1996 have not gained ground. Consumers didn’t like them. Take Discovery Channel Online, which once boasted one of the Web’s most elegant opening pages. The site has returned to a more conventional and less exciting scrollable table of contents. Most lovers of Web design would deplore the change. But as Siegel notes, Discovery carefully tests all elements of its site with its users – and the less beautiful site tested much better.
Apparently, Mr. Siegel has moved on to dark chocolate. His later-days blog seems abandoned. Meanwhile, Discovery is now pretty damn fancy — hardly simple. It probably has something to do with broadband. Siegel was pretty creative for a couple of years. It’s worth wondering, if he’d stuck with it, what he might have created in the age of DSL and CSS, and what rules he would be breaking to do it?
[dels]web design, david siegel, killer web sites, 1996[/dels] Continue reading