About Me

  • I've spent more than 25 years at the intersection of traditional and digital journalism. I've helped to invent ways to read and interact with the news and advertising on computer screens and iPads, and before that, I wrote news stories on typewriters and six-ply paper. I co-founded WashingtonPost.com and hyperlocal pioneers Backfence.com and GrowthSpur; served as editor of Philly.com; taught media entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland; and have done product-development and strategy consulting for all sorts of media and Internet companies and startups. You can read more about me here.

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« Truth in Advertising | Main | The Awful Truth »

September 25, 2007


John Robinson

Stop giving my people ideas, Mark! :)

Greg Smith

Great. I'm not redundant after all. Nice article.


wow, wish i found this website before i wrote my cover letters.


as a reporter looking to get out of the failing newspaper business, i was blown away by your article. it was well-written and right-on. Thanks, you've helped me make up my mind and to believe that yes, there is life after journalism.


Your article was good. There seems to be more and more this kind of postings on the web. Must be a sign that something is seriously wrong with the industry.

I wanted to escape the newsroom. So I escaped.

Now I'm unemployed, but happier. I feel like I'm free to do other stuff. I'll just have to figure out, what it is.

There's a lot of possibilities out there, but unfortunately less opportunities, if you get what I mean.

I thought of applying for med school. I'm not really looking forward to studying six more years (I have one Masters already), being in my early thirties, but it's something else, and at least I'll have a somewhat secure job.


Can you tell us what a high-end private investigator does?

Mark Potts

High-end private investigators typically work for corporate or wealthy clients, doing things like employment background checks, due-diligence for potential deals, or other sensitive investigations. It's basically a glorified version of the classic private detective.


As a student of media and communications, I decided within my first semester of my ugrad degree that I didn't want to be journalist. This was despite my love for writing and publishing. I've found that the skills I'm learning though, like you said, are applicable in so many different areas of my life and online media is proving to be such a refreshing avenue to explore!
It's good to know that there are other options out there these days, nothing but open road!

jason brown


Don't forget that journalists also need their voices represented on the other side of the fence.

Yes, I speak here of politics.

Whether as an advocate, lobbyist or a real, live politician, media skills are as little known in politics as they are in business.

You might not like the daily grind of journalism or churnalism any more, but that doesn't mean you have to give up on changing it.


Account Deleted

Great article. I left journalism for graduate studies years ago and now work in the PR/business world.

Certainly the writing and editing aspects of the job come easy, but the office politics make newsroom politics pale in comparison. In journalism, we’re driven by deadlines to deliver. We're people who are inquisitive by nature and by training. And, we're strong writers. I haven't found too much of this in the PR world. It's a whole other world so don't make the mistake of thinking we will be welcome with open arms to clean up their publications and websites.

Most websites and businesses are not run by journalists who appreciate good writing, good editing and good website design. In public relations, I’ve found a world where copyediting can set off temper tantrums from colleagues and “editors” butcher copy. It's a world where marketing professionals manage website content.

I learned long ago to set aside my journalistic principles so as not to risk my job by offending sensitive colleagues and managers who don’t appreciate the goldmine of talent they have in a journalist. I need the work and like the work. Surely there must be a company somewhere who appreciates what a journalist can bring to the table, but sometimes dogs and cats don’t mix.

I guess you could say that I am still working on finding my niche.


I just stumbled across your post, thank you for sharing it. I'm a journalist for a small daily paper which has been hacked at the seams and is being held together with well placed safety pins and a dedicated, but tired, crew.

Being one of the few working every day to get that paper out - with limited resources - is finally wearing me down after only three years. I know it doesn't seem like that much time but the place is very different than when I started. We're on our third editor now and the staff has been cut by more than half. I understand many other papers are experiencing similar difficulties.

I realized quiet recently, that although I still love writing, the job itself has lost the fun and spark and I'm frankly worn out by the daily deadline. I didn't think it would ever happen but it did. I'm now trying to find my niche and realize that my skill set opens many more possibilities, so its more a matter of what I want to do and what I can find, or create, within my own small community.

So thank you again for the reminder and helping many of us to see the forest through the trees...and excuse my long winded comment!

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