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Warren Buffett says papers “are toast”

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Readallover, Apr 23, 2019.

  1. swingline

    swingline Well-Known Member

    I have no idea what the circulation numbers are at all my old stops (5 in all), but I'm sure each one of them is down significantly.

    The first was a pretty crappy paper that has changed hands a couple of times. The second, a family-owned paper, was sold to Belo, which sold it to Paxton, and make your own joke there. The third was family-owned (and union) that went into a trust or something for five years after the owner's death; it might have been sold by now. The fourth moved from a shitty downtown office (complete with rats and bats) to a gleaming new glass building that might be empty today. The fifth and last — also a family owned paper — was sold to GateHouse, and just yesterday they laid off (fired) a photographer AND the sports editor.

    I'm most ... well, not upset exactly, but disappointed ... that the second and last were sold. When I was editing and designing pages at those papers, they were great at covering those cities, with vibrant reporting and writing and damn good photographers. At the second, I think all of us who were on the desk during my two years there are gone (of our own volition). At the last, the newsroom that was once about 30 strong or more has maybe a third of that left — but if I had to bet, I'd bet the under.

    Lots of mistakes have been made in newspapers, but the worst development has been papers being bought out by corporations or hedge funds. As has been shown too many times to count, those buyers have no interest in the news or being a watchdog — or even being the fourth estate in its traditional sense.

    Fewer reporters equals fewer beats and stories. And when governments and school boards and other public institutions operate in the dark, that's when we lose. With no newspaper watching their every move, too many city officials are free to do what they want without the public knowing or having a say in how things operate. I mean, in my view, losing local reporting has been in lockstep with our country's decline. You want to make America great again, support local reporting.
  2. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    Swingline, I can't "like" your post enough.

    The decade of the 2010s has seen economic prosperity across almost every sector of the U.S. economy. We all know why I said "almost."

    For newspapers, the 2008 recession never ended, and when the next recession comes, that's when a lot of print newspaper editions will end. Even though many of those print editions are a hollow shell of what they once were, it will be a sad day for America.
    swingline likes this.
  3. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    Perceptive post. I will say one of the reasons the business is toast is a lot of newspapers, the family-owned newspapers, yes the ones owned by family that acted as if they had a passion for journalism and newspapering let everybody down. How? By selling at the first hint of industry trouble. They gladly got rid of their newspapers and presses and buildings pretty much as soon as possible. They didn't assess to whom they were selling and how their newspapers would be devastated. The fatcat family owned newspaper publishers did indeed let down an entire industry. What they did was make sure they sold while they could still assure their grandkids of never having to work for a living. Good for them. Smart move. However, these fatcat families who in many cases pretended to be bastions of Journalism and their communities should be shamed forever. For in their greed, they wrecked the entire industry and should be called out for it.
  4. LanceyHoward

    LanceyHoward Well-Known Member

    I see your point but it is hard to hang tough when you are seeing you net worth evaporate (For example, McClatchy stock is down about 99%. And the industry has collapsed that only Gatehouse would buy.
  5. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    I hear u Lancey. But I feel like the ship showed signs of leakage and those second generation rich publishers quickly abandoned ship, selling so quickly. They were scared to death the product would be worth nothing so they sold for whatever millions they could get, not caring AT ALL about the company that bought their paper wanting to bleed their paper to death.
  6. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    Perhaps the greatest mystery is that an industry tasked with digging out the truth, uncovering the darkest secrets and speaking truth to power - missed the foreshadowing of its own demise. Even the papers that diversified into cable and broadcasting like Times Mirror and Tribune ended up having to throw in the towel and sell.
    sgreenwell and Fredrick like this.
  7. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    Heh. They screwed up a sinking that already happened. How are they going to foreshadow one?


  8. Driftwood

    Driftwood Well-Known Member

    My old paper was the flagship in a family-owned regional chain. They owned about a dozen papers and magazines in a couple of states.
    You'll notice I used owned as in past tense.
    These people were the classic American tale: grandma got the business up and running; daddy made it into giant for its size; the kids drove it in the ground and eventually had to sell.
    The kids (I say kids, but these people are in their 60s-70s) couldn't run a successful lemonade stand in the desert.
  9. Twirling Time

    Twirling Time Well-Known Member

    What the hell is a "Defalcation?"
    TigerVols likes this.
  10. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    Someone shit out a falcon.
  11. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    I love your posts including this post. But don't forget ... those digging out the truth, uncovering secrets and speaking truth to power were those in the trenches; the reporters, photographers and "some" of the editors who didn't have their heads up the you know whats of the suits. Those at the top always were clueless in terms of big picture and in terms of thriving. Those in the trenches were mocked if they did anything but grind on their beats. The important suits had no ability to save the industry with all their ridiculous edicts and decisions.
  12. Legacy

    Legacy New Member

    Never stop. Never stop fighting 'til the fight is won. . Here endeth the lesson.
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