Buffet makes more Triad newspaper buys
April Fool’s Story
Warren Buffet, the Oracle of Omaha, announced that his Berkshire Hathaway corporation has bought six more newspapers in the Triad area, and several area blogs, for undisclosed sums.
Among the newspaper properties purchased are weekly papers YES! Weekly and the Rhinoceros Times, African-American papers the Greensboro Peacemaker and the Winston-Salem Chronicle, downtown Greensboro monthly the Hamburger Square Post and the Navigator, which apparently is some sort of entertainment guide.
Buffet broke into this market when his company took over the Winston-Salem Journal in May 2012 in a bulk purchase from Media General that included 62 other properties for $142 million.
Berkshire Hathaway bought the Greensboro News & Record earlier this year for an undisclosed sum.
Berkshire Hathaway spokesperson Ida Tarbell says the newspaper buys are simply an extension of the man’s fascination with the medium.
“Mr. Buffet loves his newspapers,” she said during a press conference at YES!
Weekly headquarters in Adams Farm. “He reads them every day, like five or six of them.
He reads all the stories, and clips out the ones he likes to put in his scrapbook or mail to his grandkids. He does the crossword puzzles, the jumble. He even goes through the TV listings and highlights shows he plans to watch.
“He also reads the obituaries,” she added. “He loves the obits.”
Buffet also acquired four local blogs: the Troublemaker, Roch 101, Word Up and the East Greensboro Performing Arts Center blog.
“Mr. Buffet understands that the future of media is digi- tal,” Tarbell said. “And though he’s not exactly sure what a ‘blog’ is, he’s been told that they are fundamental in the new media landscape.”
All four blogs, she said, will be immediately shut down and their web addresses redirected to a new blog started by the company, which will keep readers updated with press releases and “user-generated content… viral videos, instagrams, that kind of thing.”
The working title is “BloggingtheTriad.com,” she said. When asked if she would keep any of the former site curators on, she said, “Probably not, though we hear one of them owns a plane. We are certainly very interested in talking with him… if we can find him.”
She said Buffet plans to “rejuvenate” the newspapers with “the kind of content that people want, like pictures of pets, goings-on in the senior-citizen community, largeprint movie times and long-form box scores of high school sports. And if anyone grows something in their garden that looks like a famous person, we will definitely want to run some photos of that.”
Eventually, she says, all the papers will converge into one “super-paper” that will cover the entire region, possibly to be named the Triad Times. The super paper will come out on Wednesdays and Thursdays, with a large weekend edition that will be mostly advertising inserts, sports scores, photo pages and something she deemed “human interest stuff,” but did not elaborate on the concept.
Feeling scorned were the owners of what is left of the Triad’s non-Buffet newspapers, among them the High Point Enterprise, the Greensboro Times owned by former NC Rep. Earl Jones and… well, that’s pretty much it.
“I don’t see why Warren Buffet didn’t want to buy any black newspapers,” Jones said in a phone interview. When told that Berkshire Hathaway had, indeed, purchased both the Peacemaker and the Chronicle, he asked, “Re- ally? What do you think they got for them?” The sole daily newspaper left in the Triad, the High Point Enterprise, directed interviews to a spokesman who requested anonymity.
“Yeah,” he said, “I’m pretty sure not much is going to change around here. But I heard [High Point University President] Nido Qubein might be interested in buying us. Wouldn’t that be great?”