Newspapers Won’t Make It By Not Making It

I want to make out with Warren Buffett right now:

Charlie and I believe that papers delivering comprehensive and reliable information to tightly-bound communities and having a sensible Internet strategy will remain viable for a long time. We do not believe that success will come from cutting either the news content or frequency of publication. Indeed, skimpy news coverage will almost certainly lead to skimpy readership. And the less-than-daily publication that is now being tried in some large towns or cities – while it may improve profits in the short term – seems certain to diminish the papers’ relevance over time. Our goal is to keep our papers loaded with content of interest to our readers and to be paid appropriately by those who find us useful, whether the product they view is in their hands or on the Internet.

WHAT AN AMAZING CONCEPT. Do what you’re good at, and instead of faffing around trying to bet on which thing you’re good at will be the most profitable thing, do it all well. And if you’re doing something well, your customers will want it and pay for it. Astonishing. It’s almost as if that has worked for everyone who has ever made a thing ever.

Or we could keep doing what we’re doing, which is to bitch out current and newly former customers for not loving us enough, cut staff, act like a great newspaper and a great web site and great mobile have to fight it out like fucking roosters in a cage, and talk in the trade press about how journalism has no future and nobody is ever going to love us like we think they used to.

That’s been working out great.


One thought on “Newspapers Won’t Make It By Not Making It

  1. The good news is, he just bought my former employer and now owns pretty much every daily along I-40 in N.C. between Hickory and Greensboro. (And if he’s smart, he’s negotiating with the pissants who own High Point and Durham, too.)
    The bad news is, there’s a sheriff up in Cherokee County who’s breaking the law, denying public-record requests, apparently allowing journalists who make those requests to be threatened with bodily harm and daring anyone to do anything about it. BH Media is the one chain in the state with the resources to go after the guy (McClatchy owns Charlotte and Raleigh, but with its debt, it won’t spend the money), but unfortunately, in this case “local” probably means “not Cherokee County,” what with Hickory, the closest paper to the Cherokee County seat of Murphy, being close to two hours away.
    The difference between Cherokee County and even more urban N.C. counties such as the one in which I live is like the difference between midtown Manhattan and Mogadishu. The editor of the Cherokee Scout is now seeking work. In Las Vegas. I suspect the only reason the publisher’s still around is because he has been there a while and has family in town.
    If BH really wants to make a bang, it can send a SWAT team of reporters, with armed guards, to Cherokee County and have them start turning over rocks. But we all know that ain’t gonna happen.
    And the comment thread on this on Romenesko was disgusting. A buncha armchair First Amendment activists ragging on the paper instead of, oh, I don’t know, organizing a Don Bolles Patrol.

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