I started tracking my movements about the country a decade ago (and logging them here) as an annual exercise meant to encourage memory, cataloguing and in the best cases a bit of travel writing. Looking back on it, 2015 wasn’t a big year in travel, although quality and quantity are two different things. Here’s a […]

“Not the victory but the action: Not the goal but the game: In the deed the glory”. We flew out to Omaha last weekend for a Labor Day family gathering. It was a sweet way to spend the last muggy days of summer. It was also an amazing opportunity to witness the dawn of a […]

Eminent domain seems unfair and un-American. Particularly, when called upon by a Canadian multi-national oil company to wrestle a rag tag group of ranchers for the last bit of right-of-way for its heinous oil snake pipeline. According to The Guardian, by law, TransCanada can use the courts to force Nebraska landowners to sell access to […]

The experience of watching college football is altered considerably when using a double-screen setup to watch the game on one hand, and talk about it on the other. It used to be one would simply jump up from the couch and yell affirmations or hurl curses. Today, we express our emotions as fans on Twitter, […]

I love American history and American culture. I love ‘merican people (especially our artists, writers and musicians) and ‘merican places. Therefore, it pains me to encounter geo-cultural ignorance. And sadly, I encounter it all too often in places populated by lots of “book smart” people. I just love when a native Portlander scoffs upon learning […]

Warren Buffett, the greatest investor the modern world has ever known, just ponied up $142 million to add Richmond, Virgina-based Media General to his list of prized companies.

Media General operates 18 network-affiliated television stations and their associated websites, plus several dozen community newspapers across the Southeastern part of the U.S. Titles like Richmond Times-Dispatch and Winston-Salem Journal are well known, but most of the others like The Goochland Gazette and The Bland County Messenger have small circulations in the range of 5,000 – 25,000, according to paidContent.

Is the old man getting sentimental, or is this truly a wise investment? Both, I reckon.

“I’ve loved newspapers all of my life — and always will,” Buffett, who delivered newspapers as a boy, wrote in a letter introducing himself and his newly formed BH Media Group to the Media General team.

Berkshire Hathaway purchased The Omaha World Herald, its hometown newspaper last year, and has owned the Buffalo News since 1977. Buffett has also been on the board of The Washington Post and owned a large share of that national paper for years. One might say he’s making Omaha something of a genuine media town now. As a native of the hilly river city, I’m happy about that.

Of course, there are others with other more important media matters on their minds. Professor, consultant and writer Clay Shirky, for one. He argues that “ordinary citizens don’t pay for news. What we paid for, when we used to buy the paper, was a bundle of news and sports and coupons and job listings, printed together and delivered to our doorstep.” Shirky believes that news has always been a loss leader subsidized by advertisers. And now those advertisers are off to greener pastures. “Ad dollars lost to competing content creators can be fought for; ad dollars that no longer subsidize content at all are never coming back,” he contends.

GigaOm writer, Mathew Ingram, adds that “the subscription price of a newspaper and circulation revenues in general have historically only accounted for a small proportion of a media company’s overall revenue. In most cases, the bulk of that revenue comes from advertising.”

I’m a fan of both Shirky and Ingram, but I don’t agree that all the value is in the platform. The Oracle of Omaha believes there’s value in content and he wants his new newspaper managers to find ways to maximize that value for readers (who will be asked to pay for the content, regardless of the platform). “It’s your job to make your paper indispensable to anyone who cares about what is going on in your city or town,” Buffett outlines.
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I love when an environmental issue, or any issue, helps to melt the artificial construct of political lines between people and communities come together to face off against corporate agressors. Thankfully, that’s exactly what’s going on in Nebraska, Texas and other communities that would be directly impacted by the proposed Keystone Pipeline. According to Roll […]

I’m from Nebraska and I live in Oregon. And I like college football. My loyalties to the Cornhuskers are well established. Whereas my new allegiances to the local teams are still forming. I like that Oregon has Scott Frost on its coaching staff, because I’m a Husker and he’s a Husker. But I’m not ready […]

I like to visit Omaha at least once a year to reacquaint myself with my place of origin. I need to walk the hills, breathe the air and feel the positive vibrations of the people of The Corn in order to remember who I am. I am from the middle. The Heartland. It’s a place […]