The community has been buzzing about mysterious billboards across the city that advertise “times are changing” and encourage Owensboro to “get with the times.” Attendees of the Chamber of Commerce Rooster Booster breakfast Thursday morning learned who created these billboards and exactly what they meant when Tanner Publishing owner Jason Tanner announced he and co-founder Christy Chaney have launched Owensboro Times, an online, daily news platform.
Owensboro Times will cover Owensboro and Daviess County stories as well as national and regional stories that have a local connection. This Owensboro-centric news will be delivered through a number of platforms, including a website, an app (with alerts), daily email newsletter, video, podcast and a strong social media presence.
And while The Times will cover every news story Owensboro needs to read, one thing it is not is a newspaper. They plan to utilize video as often as possible and gain a significant social media following through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.
Tanner and Chaney both believe that The Times will reach a demographic of the Owensboro community that is currently underserved, saying that Owensboro citizens currently receive news from the same printed source, another city, or have decided not to get local news at all. “We believe it’s time for a change,” the two said. (Hence their billboard marketing campaign.)
The two founders are also very vocal about what Owensboro Times will stand for. “Daily, local news should be accessible to everyone,” said Jason, who is the owner and founder of Owensboro Living. “Owensboro Times will be the easiest way to get Owensboro news and it will be written by Owensboro. It will be people from this community telling Owensboro’s story.”
Chaney, who owns Studio Slant and worked in her family’s business for 18 years, believes that creativity is key. But more than that, Christy says The Times will reflect the positive stories and events of Owensboro. From the beginning, the two set their sights and their standards high, creating their own version of the Golden Rule they call the “Widmer Way.”
Taylor Widmer was a 16-year-old young man that died in a single vehicle accident on August 7, 2014. His mother, Andrea Widmer, learned of her son’s death when she was scrolling through Facebook and saw Taylor’s car, upside down in a cornfield, in a news source’s post. The post read: “Coroner called to the scene of single car accident.”
“I would never want anyone else’s loved ones to have to go through that,” Andrea said. “My vision of his passing was taken away from me. It still haunts me.”
Widmer said it is OK to tell the story, but it’s not OK to be the story. Chaney wants to echo that principle. “Owensboro Times will cover all local news in an unbiased manner, but also in a positive light,” Chaney said. “We understand Taylor’s wreck was a news story, but there is a way to cover news that maintains journalistic integrity while respecting those involved.”
Tanner and Chaney have formed a creative and forward-thinking staff of editors, writers, photographers and videographers to deliver daily, digital news to OBKY. And they had only one clear message for those at Rooster Booster — it’s time to get with The Times!