There are many journalists all across the United States of America right now who are wondering what it’s going to be like to have Warren Buffett as a boss. And why are they wondering this? Because Berkshire Hathaway, the legendary company that was founded by Warren Buffett, has literally bought up a lot of these little newspaper publications over a short period of time.
If history repeats itself, and I truly expect that it will, then the good people who work at The Buffalo News will be able to tell you it best. The Buffalo news is a newspaper that Warren Buffett first bought in the year 1977, and he has owned and operated it ever since.
So what is the verdict coming out of The Buffalo News offices: Warren Buffett is very much a hands-off boss as far as it goes in the newspaper business. He is an avid investor in journalism on the local level, and he also provides all of his employees in the journalism business with an excellent pension plan. The one thing you need to recognize is that The News, which is short for The Buffalo News, has unfortunately had to struggle through the downturn in the economy just like everybody else.
So don’t think that these newspapers are going to be a immune to economic adversity now that Warren buffet is at the helm. I’m sure that’s something that you’d certainly want to believe, but you’d be fooling yourself and trying to fool others if you shared your beliefs with those around you.
The one thing Mr. Buffett and all of his local newspaper colleagues need to prepare for is the new evolution in electronic publishing. It was just revealed recently that some of the largest magazines in circulation right now, including Sports Illustrated, Time magazine and People magazine, are now going to be offering online magazine subscriptions through Apple’s iTunes Store.
People are obviously turning more and more toward digital publications for their convenience and ease-of-use. It is obvious that Mr. Buffett likes to stick to things that he understands, and he may end up dating himself by buying into an industry that is completely changing right before his eyes.
Only time will obviously tell, but the newspaper industry certainly isn’t what it was all that long ago. So I hope Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway understand exactly what they’re getting into during the new and improved digital age.