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Biography

I'm Mark Potts, a recovering journalist. For more than 25 years, I've been an entrepreneur, executive and strategic, product and business consultant to leading media and Internet companies.

Why do I call myself a recovering journalist? Because I spent 15 years as a print reporter and editor before switching to the digital and business worlds just as media began moving to the Web, in the early '90s.

I think a lot of journalists—and traditional media executives—are caught up in old ways of thinking about the industry that are being wiped clean by the digital revolution. Without radical new approaches, the old journalistic institutions are suffering through horrible death spirals.

Rather than wallow in the past, I'd rather think about fresh new ways for the audience to receive, create and interact with news, information and advertising—and find business models to pay for it. That's what I've been doing for the past two decades as a digital media executive, entrepreneur and consultant.

I believe that media companies must be coldblooded and aggressive about how they change their strategies, business models and products to survive the transition from print to digital. The sooner media companies embrace things like mobile platforms, social media, user-generated content, new kinds of storytelling, new forms of advertising, subscriptions, events and other types of revenue generation; and wide-open interaction with their audience, the sooner they'll halt their slide into oblivion.

Otherwise, they're toast.

How do I know about this stuff? After 15 years as a journalist for The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and other major news organizations, I moved into the digital world even before there was a World Wide Web. I cofounded WashingtonPost.com, was on the founding team of the @Home Network and created and cofounded Backfence.com, a pioneering hyperlocal user-generated citizens media company.

I also ran the digital division of Cahners Business Information (now Reed Business Information), the leading U.S. trade magazine publisher, and have consulted for a wide variety of media and Internet companies and startups. I was acting VP-editor of Philly.com, the Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News Web site, as a consultant; I cofounded GrowthSpur.com, an effort to create ad networks to support local sites; I was VP-Content at the Lawrence (KS) Journal-World; and I was founding editor of Alta magazine. I even have taught media entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland and elsewhere.

Disclosure: As mentioned, I have done strategic and product consulting work for a variety of media and digital clients. I also am an investor in and advisor to several startups. If there are any potential conflicts, I will be transparent about them in my blog.

Want to hire me as a consultant to transform your site and business? Please send me an e-mail at mark(at)recoveringjournalist.com