To do great writing, read great writing. Here’s the great writing I’ve been reading this week:
God bless Warren Buffett.
Though he’s better known as one of the country’s savviest investors, deep down he’s a news man through and through.
Two weeks ago, Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, bought 63 daily and weekly newspapers from Media General. In an open letter to publishers and editors of those papers published this week on GuruFocus, Buffett shared how both his parents had worked in newspapers and he’d worked as a paper boy. He grew up reading papers and still reads five a day. “Call me an addict,” he writes.
Buffett reassured those publishers and editors that he’s in the business for the long haul. He also reiterated his faith in the newspaper business, given certain parameters: that the cities they serve be well established and have a clear identity and strong community spirit, and that the papers stop giving away their product for free online. Of the latter he states:
We must rethink the industry’s initial response to the Internet. The original instinct of newspapers then was to offer free in digital form what they were charging for in print. This is an unsustainable model and certain of our papers are already making progress in moving to something that makes more sense. We want your best thinking as we work out the blend of digital and print that will attract both the audience and the revenue we want.
Buffett invited the publishers and editors to the next Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting, saying:
We had a newspaper-throwing contest at this year’s meeting, and my competition was weak. You will dramatically upgrade the field, and I look forward to taking you on. You will also get a chance to hear my partner, Charlie Munger, and me tell an audience of 35,000 or so why we still love newspapers.
How many job applications from displaced journalists do you think he’s going to get after this? My guess — a lot.
Here’s the other good reading I found this week:
- Grammar, a Victim in the Office (Wall Street Journal)
- Hearst serial fabricator may have made up more stories than Stephen Glass (Regret the Error)
- Nora Ephron obit: Writer and filmmaker with a genius for humor (New York Times)
- Inside Forbes: 5 reasons for our bold new home page (Forbes)
- Inside the mind of a freelancer (Mashable)