The WSJ is reporting that biz whiz Warren Buffett is seeing “unending losses” for many newspapers. Buffet says it’s bleak, then adds “”It’s really a national tragedy. These monopoly daily
newspapers have been an important sinew to our civilization, they kept
government more honest than they would otherwise be.”
I agree that having individuals and institutions that speak truth to power is essential. I also agree that storytelling and investigative reporting are skills–and arts–we cannot lose. However, I can’t pretend that I am sorry that over-leveraged, corporate conglomerate news businesses are being forced to reinvent and change. The idea that the era of the “monopoly newspaper” as Buffet smartly calls it, is ending fills me with excitement–and a sense of responsibillity to help craft what’s viable and next.
Is news over? No.
Are newspapers over? Certainly not
But as the old mega-businesses fall to their knees and flame out, watch carefully what comes next–I am hoping we see more local media, more public media, more community voices combined with skilled story telling and more accountability.