GateHouse Media is up to something potentially amazing.
The newspaper company has launched a news operation in a town where the local (non-GateHouse) paper had largely ignored the web: Batavia, New York.
TheBatavian.com is an online news site that’s all local and 100% paper-free. By eliminating one of the greatest sources of expense – the printed paper – the startup in Batavia increases the chances of breaking even and – imagine that – making a profit in a business far too many people are writing off as too expensive.
More importantly, TheBatavian.com could very well be schooling the competition on what happens when you allow the hottest medium of all to lie fallow. And in the process, they may be coining a new verb – to Batavian: to snatch a market away from the snoozing competition with an online-only play.
As GateHouse’s Howard Owen says on his own blog:
We picked Batavia because it’s a neat, vibrant town; it’s close to our home office; and the daily newspaper there was doing nothing on the web.
Amazingly, the local paper still just has a brochure site and hasn’t engaged the battle. This certainly bears watching.