Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway purchased most of Media General’s newspapers last week, writes in a letter to those papers’ publishers and editors, “I believe newspapers that intensively cover their communities will have a good future.” He expects that Berkshire Hathaway will always own the papers, says papers shouldn’t consider his personal political views, and believes editors should not reduce their news holes.
They will, however, have to follow certain principles: take on no debt that makes them vulnerable, expect to charge for online content somehow and make sure an intense local focus is in their DNA: “Technological change has caused us to lose primacy in various key areas, including national news, national sports, stock quotations and employment opportunities,” Buffett writes. “So be it. Our job is to reign supreme in matters of local importance.”
Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett writes, “will probably purchase more papers in the next few years.” He also invited the new employees to next year’s Berkshire annual meeting. “We had a newspaper-throwing contest at this year’s meeting, and my competition was weak,” he writes.
Watch Warren Buffett toss a newspaper: