Want to stay informed? Read your community newspaper
By BILL GRAY
Mt. Pleasant News
Warren Buffett thinks community newspapers are valuable and important.
This billionaire has backed up his opinion with investment – and investment is something he does better than perhaps anyone in history. The Omaha resident purchased his hometown paper group, including some Iowa properties, and now is spreading newspaper buys wider to the Southeast United States – and even a piece of the Quad Cities market.
And why should you, dear Mt. Pleasant News reader, care? Because it shows how smart you are to be reading your community newspaper! There are those who have been telling people otherwise – that newspapers aren’t important.
Buffett recognizes what you and I know: Community newspapers are the ones who provide the details of our lives. You don’t get that on TMZ. You don’t get that from an online blogger. You don’t get that from a conservative radio commentator. You don’t get that from whoever took over when Katie Couric got pushed out of TV news.
The community newspaper reports when your teams are going to state tournaments. Just as important, the newspaper reports when your teams aren’t going anywhere.
The Mt. Pleasant News, and papers like it across the nation, tell about your upcoming birthdays and anniversaries, as well as the ones you just celebrated. Reports are in about the good works of your club, your church and even the place where you work.
If taxes are going up, there’s a report. (I won’t even bother to say we’d report if taxes went down; likely, that would rate a special edition if it ever happens!) We report the details of local elections – not just the hoo-ha over who’s going to end up in the White House.
Buffett, by underscoring his beliefs with his investments, reinforces the obvious: Newspapers play a vital role in our communities. That makes them worth being part of the Buffet portfolio.
I would add that a community newspaper needs to operate in the right kinds of communities. Right now, newspapers in large cities are suffering. The New Orleans Times-Picayune, for example, just announced it would cut publication from seven days a week to three days a week
Why? I think the evidence is clear that larger papers have lost touch with communities by trying to be all things to all people. Having the complete stock listings doesn’t do any good when your smart phone can update and surpass what’s in the newspaper in a few clicks. National news stories are available online, and you can add video. (We even provide the national and international video at our community Website at www.mpnews.net for free. Consider that next time you think about buying a big city newspaper for that kind of news.)
Is Mt. Pleasant the right kind of community? Of course. So are New London, Lowell, Olds, Swedsburg, Winfield, Trenton, Wayland, Rome, Hillsboro and Salem – and others surrounding beautiful Henry County, Iowa. We have a mix of multi-generation residents and newcomers, folks that live in harmony thanks to good local government, roads, schools, recreation and more.
And before you think I’m bucking for a job at some Chamber of Commerce, let me remind you again: Warren Buffett thinks newspapers in communities like ours are valuable. So until Buffett turns up on the Delinquent Tax list, I’m going with his lead.