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Walt Potter has been visiting and talking with community publishers on “Listening Tours” since 2015, and he has found Facebook to be a major concern and sometimes a major ally to papers in rural areas. He’ll discuss those findings as well as provide early results from the Weekly Newspaper Website Project, a partnership between the Missouri Press Association and the Walter B. Potter Fund for Innovation in Local Journalism. WNWP is aimed at helping small papers build and improve their websites.

Walt Potter is a third generation community newspaper publisher, growing up working on the Culpeper (Va.) Star-Exponent. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Walt worked for several daily newspapers including the Kansas City Times before returning to run the community paper his grandfather helped to found in Emporia, Va. Since establishing the Walter B. Potter Fund for Innovation in Local Journalism in 2010, Walt has worked with the Reynolds Journalism Institute to explore the future of community newspapers. Those efforts have included establishing the Potter Conferences— named for his publisher father — in 2011 and going on “Listening Tours“ the past two years to discover what the Potter Fund can do to help community papers.



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