Owens heading east
Howard Owens, most recently of Bakersfield and before that Ventura County reports that he's headed east to a new gig -- director of Internet publishing for Gatehouse Media, headquarterd near Rochester, N.Y.
Gatehouse is a collection of 450 dailies, weeklies and shoppers scattered among 15 states.
Look around the Web sites and it quickly becomes apparent that most are slight variations on a pretty standard and not overly exciting theme. Lots of empty Online Poll and Special Section boxes (how embarrassing on your home page to have "no publications or editions found," even if it is in a special section box, as in Telluride).
At least one of the papers' sites I went to tonight had a picture (a police handout that was bad already) way too large and a poll asking how people liked the "new" Web site . That almost sounds like Owens at work already.
Having said that, it's a great way for an experienced professional to see what he can do with community newspaper sites. As with our Hartsville Today project, I think that's where the action is. So I'm rooting for his success.
Now will somebody please buy his house so he can go buy snowblowers and rock salt? Rochester ain't no Bakersfield.