What Buffet says about newspapers

Published 12:50 pm Saturday, March 9, 2013

Newspaper readers tend to be fans of the printed word and eager seekers of information. We thought our readers would enjoy hearing encouraging words about newspapers from the Oracle of Omaha himself, Warren Buffet, in his message to stockholders of Berkshire Hathaway:

“News, to put it simply, is what people don’t know that they want to know. And people will seek their news — what’s important to them — from whatever sources provide the best combination of immediacy, ease of access, reliability, comprehensiveness and low cost.

“Newspapers continue to reign supreme, however, in the delivery of local news. If you want to know what’s going on in your town — whether the news is about the mayor or taxes or high school football — there is no substitute for a local newspaper that is doing its job. A reader’s eyes may glaze over after they take in a couple of paragraphs about Canadian tariffs or political developments in Pakistan; a story about the reader himself or his neighbors will be read to the end. Wherever there is a pervasive sense of community, a paper that serves the special informational needs of that community will remain indispensable to a significant portion of its residents.

“(Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charlie Munger) 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.”

To our readers of The Tidewater News: Now you have an insight into why this newspaper focuses so much on local news and not so much on national or international news. We are about you, the community. People can get news of the world nearly anywhere, but the best place to get news about Western Tidewater is right here in this newspaper. We will continue to work as hard as we can to provide you with coverage of the issues, and people, that matter the most to you.