Mark Potts, late of the Washington Post, Backfence.com and other ventures that have attempted to tackle the Wild West of journalism in the digital age, is joining the World Company as vice president of content. The World Company publishes the Lawrence Journal-World, eight community weeklies, KUSports.com, WellCommons.com and Lawrence.com (and is my employer).
Potts fills a role left vacant by the departure of former managing editor Dennis Anderson, who joined the Peoria Journal Star. Potts’ position will have a role across all the company’s properties.
“Mark is deeply committed to the future of news,” said Suzanne Schlicht, chief operating officer of The World Company, in a story posted by the Journal-World. “He is nationally known for this commitment and his work. He is visionary and collaborative and shares our goal of being of utmost relevance in the lives of the people of Lawrence and Northeast Kansas.”
In his blog, Potts wrote:
What does all that mean? It’s too early to say in much detail. But it means being not just “digital first” but audience first: delivering news, information and advertising to audiences at high quality in whatever form the audience wants it–from print to online to mobile to e-mail to social networks to tablets. It means building editorial products backed by strong business models that support good journalism. It means helping newsrooms rethink the way they do everything to best serve their audiences. It means building strong partnerships with college journalism departments, like the excellent one at the nearby University of Kansas. And so much more.
I’m excited to get this opportunity to, well, put my money where my mouth has been. As a member in good standing of the Jarvis/Shirky/Rosen Future of News coven, I’ve been bloviating about this stuff for years, as well as teaching it and helping to start and nurture companies that have attempted to capitalize on the change swirling around the news business (another of those startups is in the oven, almost ready to go–watch this space).
Now I get to put all that theory and thinking into action, in search of a model that provides great local journalism to the people in and around Lawrence for years to come, and maybe, just maybe, providing an example that can be used elsewhere–hopefully many elsewheres.