Congratulations to Howard Owens, publisher and editor of the Batavian, who this week announced two part-time hires for his pioneering news site, one on the news side, the other in advertising. Significantly, his new reporter, Brittany Baker, recently lost her job at the local newspaper, the Daily News.
Owens continues to prove that it’s possible to build a successful for-profit community news site if you’re willing to work hard — although, as he is quick to point out, he works no harder than the pizza-shop owners and other entrepreneurs who advertise on his site.
Community journalism has never been a way to get rich. What Owens is proving is that the cheap and free tools of the Web make it possible to restore mom-and-pop independent local news of the sort that graced every city and town up until a generation or two ago.