A Rx from Mark Potts

Longtime newspaperman-turned-online-guy Mark Potts has his version of how to save newspapers at his Recovering Journalist blog.

Potts, currently a cofounder of the community news product, backfence.com, sums the current state of innovation in the business as:

The single biggest innovation in print newspaper journalism in the past decade or so is...Sudoku. Newspapers can and must do better than that to survive.

His 10 points are not radically new, but would be radically new for a newspaper that put them in place.

It's clear incremental improvements -- tweaking the product and tinkering with the internals -- will not be enough. But it's unclear when the radical change will occur. Newspapers are playing the same game as political parties of "not alienating the base." Drop a comic; the phone rings. Trim stocks; the phone rings. Drop the editorial page?

It's more than attracting new readers. The portion of the "base" for which newspapers no longer matter, is well down the road to moving on, leaving a base audience ever more resistant to change.

Give his prescription a read.

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