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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Monthly Archives: February 2007
If you haven’t followed the saga of Wendy McCaw, Jerry Roberts and the Santa Barbara News-Press, it’s a sad story for journalism, but it’s sadder still for Roberts, who has been faced with a cancer fight amidst McCaw taking legal action against Roberts.
Funny piece from Amy Gahran on Poynter:
“You paid for this?…” he frowned, shaking his head. “How do you search it?”
“It’s not really searchable, but it’s scannable. See, you can open up the pages wide and see lots of stories.”
“Looks like mostly ads.”
“Well, yeah, this page is mostly ads…” I rifled further through, and tossed aside entire sheafs of pages. “But then some pages have several stories, usually at the front of the sections. There are no links, though.”
“You’re kidding! What good is this, then?”
But as Amy notes, lots of people like it. Some even swear by it. Continue reading
CareerBuilder is being dumped by its ad agency after playing the agency in “review.”
SuperBowl ads for CareerBuilder failed to crack the top 10 of most popular. You’ve probably seen the ads — office workers in a jungle.Â I don’t know if the agency or CareerBuilder should be blamed for ads, but they do suck. Big time.
The monkeys were better. Continue reading
Yesterday, I popped on YouTube and ortoPilot’s “Insecure” was a featured video. At first, it was hard for me to believe this guy was for real. Surely, he’s lipsynching. What great guitar and great vocals — and a great song … must have been a cover.
OrtoPilot, according to this myspace page, is a one-man band from Manchester, England turned five-man band. OrtoPilot has an official web site. On that site, are several MP3s. So I made, “Insecure” today’s free MP3 on MP3Caravan.com.
Great song. The YouTube acoustic version has more energy, but the full-band studio mix is probably more radio friendly (if radio friendly even matters any more).
Here’s a great example of using attached video to improve a story, not try to make the story.
It comes to us from a post by Robert Freeman.
Rather than watching the news on TV and attempting to emulate the format, these publications should start by using video to illustrate better the stories they are already writing.
Hereâ€™s a good example from the Eastern Daily Press. Itâ€™s short, itâ€™s got great pictures and itâ€™s illustrative of the story it sits in. Thereâ€™s nothing else. No â€˜production valueâ€™, not even a voiceover.
Thatâ€™s all you need to concentrate on doing at the moment, because reporters need time to develop those skills (which can all be taught incidentally). Walk, then run.
That’s what I’ve been saying all along, of course. I am still surprised that the approach remains controversial in some quarters. Continue reading
Some commenters lambasted his post as promoting a type of journalism that’s basically not professional enough. But the question is: Is it good enough?
I think the answer — at least for now — is that VJ, backpack, MoJo, or just reporter with a camera video can attract an audience and be disruptive to the traditioanl TV model. And while the production qualities are derided by the “pros,” the viewers are watching.
Classic Innovator’s Dilemma stuff. A lot of times, it isn’t executives unwilling to fund change who hold back innovation, but middle managers and lower who can only conceive of doing their job one way. With web video, it’s photographes and videographers who believe some fairly substantial standards must be maintained despite terrabytes of evidence that all consumers really want is “good enough.” That’s why TV stations will lose, and why newspapers that let photo staff dictate the terms of coverage are making a big mistake. Continue reading
The percentage of Americans who say they read a newspaper every day has dropped from nearly 70 percent to just over 30 percent.
So, do we blame:
- Bean counting publishers who trimmed staffs
- Dreams-of-glory journalists who chased too many big government stories instead of small people stories
- A turbulent media environment of too many choices and a rapidly shifting culture
There’s plenty of blame to go around, I expect. And maybe no blame. Maybe that’s just the way it is. Now the question is, how do we adapt and protect our investors, our co-workers and serve our communities (which includes readers and advertisers)?
I have my ideas, and regular readers probably have some clues as to what those are, but what are yours? Continue reading
Google has found it exceedingly difficult to attract established B&M small business advertisers. Google AdSense, while simple to guys like us, is not necessarily easy, and operating an advertising program well takes time and attention. These are stumbling blocks for most small business owners.
The advantage for newspapers in selling low-cost, low-touch advertising are local relationships.
But Google isn’t going to give up, and Greg Sterling observes that Google Apps may be the gateway into SMB hearts.
Google isnâ€™t going to be able to convert the majority of those SMB Apps users into advertisers but it will acquire some of them. And as it grows the overall base of Apps users, Google will likely gain new SMB advertisers accordingly. This is the secondary benefit for Google of beefing up the productivity suite. Further, it reinforces Googleâ€™s brand and usage as well as creating more ad inventory in selected cases. And it could prove, over time, to be a reasonable and cost-effective way to more deeply penetrate the SMB market.
Are you ready to trust Google with all your proprietary business data? Apparently, a lot of businesses are.
Google’s motto is famously, “don’t be evil,” and for the time being, I personally believe that Google is largely not evil and as well intentioned as any for-profit business. I believe Sergey and Larry genuinely want to be both helpful and profitable. That said, Google won’t be growth juggernaut into infinity. Eventually, the growth engine slows and investors become restive. What then? What pressures will Google executives face to better leverage all of the data in its stores?
Just a thought … Continue reading
Of course, it’s a promo piece for Apple products, but this profile of the Washington Post’s web operation will give you a good glimpse of how this award-winning operation is put together and what it does. Continue reading
With inexpensive auto-focus and image-stabilization cameras now widely available â€“ and PhotoShop at hand to rescue any less-than-successful effort â€“ even reporters could be trained to take some decent shots.
Throughout my entire reporting career, I took my own photos. That was many years before digital cameras or even PhotoShop. In fact, when push came to shove, I could go into the dark room and process my own prints.
That said, I’ve come around to believing that photographers, still photographers, are going to be quite employable in the news game for a long, long time yet. There’s no innovation yet that can replace a really good photographer. Continue reading