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Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Our new app looks like a hit so far (still waiting for it to come out for iPhone)

post by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian

If you're a Android smartphone owner, download The Batavian's new breaking news app from Google Play.

In the first two days since we released it, there have been 30 downloads, which I think is pretty darn good.

We've submitted the app to Apple for inclusion in the iTunes store. It could take two or three weeks for the app to be approved (knock on wood that it will be).

It's a very simple app. Right now, it's just a feed of what appears on our home page and the ability for us to send you push notifications.

And that's really the point of the app: Push notifications, or alerts. If you download the app, we will use push notifications to alert you to breaking news, important news, features and important sports stories. We won't do it for every minor scanner call and routine press releases. Some stories will be a judgment call, but the idea will be to alert you to things posted that we want to draw your attention to and hope you'll want to be sure and know about right away.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 8:52 am

Introducing The Batavian's smartphone app (Droid now, iPhone is coming)

post by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian

A long time ago a reader said to me, "I wish I could get a notification on my phone when you post a new story," and I thought that was a good idea.

After some research, I decided creating an app would be the best course of action, but how to get it done? I had a hard time finding an affordable programmer I could trust and none of the DIY tools seemed satisfactory.

A few days ago, I found a tool I wanted to try and after some futzing about, I uploaded our first app to Google Play (so the app right now is only available for Droid -- it's coming for iPhone, but it's a little harder to get into the Apple Store and that process could take two or three weeks).

It's a very simple app. Right now, it's just a feed of what appears on our home page and the ability for us to send you push notifications.

And that's really the point of the app: Push notifications, or alerts. If you download the app, we will use push notifications to alert you to breaking news, important news, features and important sports stories. We won't do every minor scanner call and routine press releases. Some stories will be a judgment call, but the idea will be to alert you to things posted that we want to draw your attention to and hope you'll want to be sure and know about right away.

Getting the app to this stage has cost us $150 and with hosting fees, there will be recurring costs, so we've set a one-time fee on the app of $1.49.

Here's the link to Google Play to download it. Or search Google Play for "The Batavian."

Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 2:26 pm

The Batavian wins General Excellence in Digital Journalism Award from Inland Press Association

post by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian

For the second time in three years, The Batavian has won a General Excellence in Digital Journalism Award from the Inland Press Association.

This time, The Batavian comes in second in the under 50,000 circulation category (we're placed in that category based on our area's population size) behind The Santa Fe New Mexican.

Three years ago, The Batavian received a third-place award.

The judges wrote:

The Batavian is what good digital news sites should aspire to be. It features excellent journalism, creative interactivity and is clearly ingrained in its community. Readers feel they know what it's like living in Batavia from reading this site.

The awards will be presented later this month at Inland's 128th annual meeting later this month in Chicago. The Batavian, unfortunately, won't be attending.

There are more than 1,200 print newspaper members of Inland and The Batavian is just one of only a few online-only publications that have joined.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 6:57 am

Travel days

post by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian

Today starts a round of travel for me. I'm heading off to Syracuse this morning where I'll visit the S.I. Newhouse School of Communication at Syracuse University. I'm looking forward to meeting with a group of students in a news start-up class. I'll also get to see some of the forward-thinking projects news business students are working on. It's been about six years since I visited the school, so I'm looking forward to dropping in again.

Tomorrow, I'm flying to Chicago. Each of the past three Octobers I've gone to Chicago for what was known as the Block-by-Block conference. It was sponsored by academic foundations interested in promoting local online news. That funding was of a limited duration, but what BxB spawned was the formation of an association known as Local Independent Online News Publishers (LION for short). I'm a board member. We have more than 100 members. We've managed to pull off organizing our own first-ever LION conference. So I'll be at that.

I don't return until Saturday night. I'll miss the Wine Walk. The Batavian is participating in the Wine Walk. Lisa Ace and Dee Neilans, as last year (and as Dee has done for us the past three years), are going to be pouring wine at our location in the foyer of the Masonic Temple building. I just won't be there.

Coverage, of course, during the next few days, will be limited, but not missing. Billie will still be here posting items as they come along. I'll also be able to do what I can do from a distance and within my time constraints.

Monday, September 30, 2013 at 2:12 pm

GO ART! announces 2013 Community Arts Awards

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, GO ART!, thebatavian

Press release:

GO ART! presents its 13th annual Genesee-Orleans Community Arts Awards Gala Dinner & Auction at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26 at Terry Hills Golf Course and Banquet Facility, 5122 Clinton Street Road (Route 33), Batavia. Each year, GO ART! recognizes the extraordinary contributions in art and culture made by individuals and organizations in the Genesee-Orleans region at this unique event. This year’s honorees are:

Community Arts Awards:

  • Business -- Laura Gardner, “a lily & a sparrow” in Medina
  • Business -- Howard Owens, The Batavian
  • Cultural Organization -- Barb Toal & Friends of Batavia Peace Garden
  • Artist -- “The Humans” – John Dumrese, Richard Doolan, Gar Trusselle, William Kuhns, Martin Busch and the late Danny Long
  • Artist -- Carol “Kay” McMahon, musician from Genesee County

GO ART! Board of Directors Special Recognition: Mary Pat Hancock, chair of the Genesee County Legislature

Linda L. Blanchet Award: To be announced

Tickets are $27/non-members, $25/members, and advance reservations are required. Enjoy a delectable dinner and desserts while local band “The Old Hippies” featuring Bill McDonald provides musical entertainment. Dress is business casual.

A silent auction featuring quality work by local artists, artisans and cultural organizations will be held throughout the evening, and the annual Gala Raffle will be held as well. The Grand Prize this year is 14K white gold pendant necklace with black and white diamonds .50ptw, compliments of Valle Jewelers; Value $1,250.

The Raffle tickets have a requested donation of $5 each or five for $20, and are available at GO ART! and at the event. Winners will be selected in a random drawing at the GO ART! Gala on Oct. 26; you do not need to be present to win.

For more information, call 585.343.9313, e-mail [email protected], or visit www.GOart.org.

Monday, September 2, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Will you be the 200th member of The Batavian Club?

Believe it or not, I just finished processing the new members for August -- including those who signed up at Summer in the City (that's how busy I've been the past two or three weeks). With everybody entered into the member database, we're at 198 members.

There's no door prize for being the 200th member, but sign up now and your membership card just might read member #200. 

It's a good time to sign up because we will be sending out membership cards and packages of gift certificates Wednesday or Thursday (except to those who already received gift certificates at Summer in the City, who will just get their cards).

A membership in The Batavian Club helps support and sustain The Batavian. Think of it as a subscription, but instead of getting a paper on your doorstep, you get an envelope mailed to you filled with more than $325 in gift certificates to local businesses.

We appreciate you reading The Batavian every day, but in order for us to grow and improve what do, even just to sustain the business, we need your support. 

To be clear about why we're doing The Batavian Club -- this isn't about selling discounts to businesses, though we do that, it's about reaching out to the people who read The Batavian every day and appreciate what we do, to make a small contribution to help us build a sustainable business. Advertising alone is not enough. We need reader support. Think of this as a voluntary subscription for all the great news you get online from The Batavian.

So, please use the options below and join today.

TO JOIN: Use PayPal buttons below, or to pay by check (annual only) or credit card, click here to download form. Or call (585) 250-4118 to pay by credit card.

We've set up four membership tiers -- Subscribe to the club monthly as one person or as a household, or annually at either of those levels. 

Members receive a membership card, bumper sticker and a package of gift certificates to local businesses. 

It's important to note, this isn't a subscription to read the site. Our stories remain free to read. This is a voluntary subscription with benefits (and we'll add benefits as it grows).

Join via PayPal below, or for annual and one-time memberships paid by check, click here to download this form (monthly, recurring payment memberships must be via PayPal or credit card.) To pay by credit card, use the form, or call (585) 250-4118.

Monthly Single Membership - $5 per month
Includes membership card and bumper sticker, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Monthly Household Membership - $10 per month
Includes two membership cards and two bumper stickers, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Annual Single Membership - $50 per year
Includes membership card, bumper sticker, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Annual Household Membership - $100 per year
Includes two membership cards and two bumper stickers, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Annual membership, one payment of $60
Includes membership card, bumper sticker, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

Annual household membership, one payment of $120
Includes two membership cards, bumper sticker, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Sunday, August 25, 2013 at 8:33 am

No regular updates today

post by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian

I have a photo assignment to shoot in Great Valley today so Billie and I will be away from the scanners. We're taking the opportunity on the way back to knock another item off our WNY bucket list: Letchworth Park.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at 2:29 pm

News coverage for the next 24 hours

post by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian

Today, Billie and I celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. Shortly, we'll hit the road. We're staying in Buffalo tonight and then tomorrow will go see, from the U.S. side, for the first time, Niagara Falls.

We've lined up some help for news coverage tomorrow, but for the next 24 hours there will be no scanner coverage.

I'm not, however, turning off my phone and many people know how to reach me via phone, text or Facebook, if needed. 

Our news partner, WBTA, is also available to help us with news coverage.

Tomorrow the president's motorcade is likely to pass down the Thruway. (There is the obvious and inevitable rumor that he'll come down Route 5, of course). If anybody happens to get a picture of that and can send it our way, that would be great.

Friday, August 16, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Visit our booth at Summer in the City and join The Batavian Club

Dear Folks who read The Batavian daily (and there are thousands of you):

We really do need your support. We're asking you to sign up for a voluntary subscription (we call it The Batavian Club), and for your support we promise to keep bringing you local news every day (and if enough of you join, expand on it) and send you more than $325 in gift certificates to local businesses.

It's a great way to support your favorite local news site.

If you join now, bring your PayPal receipt to Summer in the City tomorrow for a free gift.

To be clear about why we're doing The Batavian Club. This isn't about selling discounts to businesses, though we do that, it's about reaching out to the people who read The Batavian every day and appreciate what we do, to make a small contribution to help us build a sustainable business. Advertising alone is not enough. We need reader support. Think of this as a voluntary subscription for all the great news you get online from The Batavian.

So, please use the options below and join today.

TO JOIN: Use PayPal buttons below, or to pay by check (annual only) or credit card, click here to download form. Or call (585) 250-4118 to pay by credit card.

We've set up four membership tiers -- Subscribe to the club monthly as one person or as a household, or annually at either of those levels. 

Members receive a membership card, bumper sticker and a package of gift certificates to local businesses. 

It's important to note, this isn't a subscription to read the site. Our stories remain free to read. This is a voluntary subscription with benefits (and we'll add benefits as it grows).

Join via PayPal below, or for annual and one-time memberships paid by check, click here to download this form (monthly, recurring payment memberships must be via PayPal or credit card.) To pay by credit card, use the form, or call (585) 250-4118.

Monthly Single Membership - $5 per month
Includes membership card and bumper sticker, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Monthly Household Membership - $10 per month
Includes two membership cards and two bumper stickers, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Annual Single Membership - $50 per year
Includes membership card, bumper sticker, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Annual Household Membership - $100 per year
Includes two membership cards and two bumper stickers, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

Annual membership, one payment of $60
Includes membership card, bumper sticker, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

Annual household membership, one payment of $120
Includes two membership cards, bumper sticker, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.

 

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