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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- Pamela Lagahid on IFRA launches second vertical search engine for media
- kapiyo on My new Nikon F4
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Monthly Archives: August 2010
I’ve always been interested in photography, but when I had a good SLR I couldn’t afford much in the way of film or developing. Then, when digital came along, I couldn’t afford, nor justify, anything but a point-and-shot camera.
In running The Batavian, I realized that with no photography staff, the "reporter armed with nothing more than a point-and-shot" just wouldn’t cut it. There are some photo assignments that can only be handled by a quality SLR camera.
So I bought a Nikon D90.
This immediately led to an improvement in my photography, which led to a lot of positive reader feedback, which encouraged me even more to take photography more seriously.
I’m very pleased the the ongoing positive feedback I get from friends, family and readers for the pictures I’ve been taking.
I don’t know where a serious interest in photography will take me, but I keep pursuing it.
This has led me to set up a photoblog: VuFindr.com.
If you’ve ever tried to register for the site and were not successful the reason is: ever since I moved howardowens.com to the current hosting service, e-mail hasn’t works, so there are no e-mail notifications going out for registration.
Also, I get a tremendous number of spammers trying to sign up for accounts. This leads me to (combined with how busy I am running The Batavian) not to ever look at the new account list.
So, if you have a registration pending: e-mail me and I’ll approve it (if I believe you registered with your real first name and last name). And in the future, new registrants will be asked to contact me via e-mail to request account approval.
I’m at gmail and the username is howardowens (humans will know how to turn that into an e-mail address).
I’m feeling a little inspired by this post from Leo Laporte to turn away from social networking sites and post a little more here. If that happens you can expect a mix of subject matter, from the more personal stuff I would most likely share on Facebook, to more profession oriented stuff I generally saved for Twitter.
Right now, I’m not thinking of dropping either service (twitter is how I get most of my profession’s news these days), but I’d like to do a little more with this blog.
Bottom line is: People in the business who expect nothing from me but profession related posts will be disappointed.
The newspaper in the town of my birth, San Diego, has launched a redesign.
The redesign features fewer stories on the front page, more space for graphics and the name plate has been changed to the snappier "U-T" rather than the apparently more cumbersome "Union-Tribune." The amount of actual news on the front page has been greatly reduced (and if you compare it to a San Diego Union or Evening Tribune front page of 1971, tremendously reduced).
While the redesign story says the U-T is recommitting to watchdog journalism and more in-depth coverage, everything else screams "we want to be the web in print."
The trend of snappier, more graphic printed newspapers began decades ago, but I continue to maintain that it’s no coincidence that as newspapers have moved toward trying to be more like magazines, or now, the web, readership has declined.
There is lot of reasons for readership declines, but what I don’t get is: Why did newspapers stopped trying to be a newspaper.
A newspaper is about black and white first and foremost: headlines and words.
Newsprint is a writer’s medium, punctuated and enhanced by exceptional black and white photography.
The effort to move newspapers toward color and fewer words has been destructive to the greatest value proposition of a newspaper: To be a product that thoughtful people spend time with. The endless chasing of "time-starved readers" has done nothing more than alienate core subscribers. And I also believe created a product that is even less interesting to younger generation of readers.
This remains one of my pet peeves.
I love the web. I think it has great, great strengths as a news delivery platform, and news organizations need to figure out how to more effectively deliver news online, but at the same time, publishers need to stop investing in splashy redesigns and instead invest in good, quality print journalism.
The way to fight print circulation declines isn’t to move away from good print journalism, but to embrace what makes print a great platform for great journalism.
My advice to publishers: Embrace the web as the web; celebrate print as print. Don’t try to transfer one mindset on the other.