The death of newspapers is sad, but the threatened loss of journalistic talent is catastrophic.
By Clay Shirky: The Roanoke Times, the local paper in my family home, is a classic metro daily, with roots that go back to the 1880s. Like most such papers, it ran into trouble in the middle of last decade, as print advertising revenue fell, leaving a hole in the balance sheet that digital advertising couldn’t fill. When the 2008 recession accelerated those problems, the Times’ parent company, Landmark, began looking for a buyer, eventually selling it to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Media Group in 2013. The acquisition was greeted with relief in the newsroom, as Buffett had famously assured the employees at his earlier purchases “Your paper will operate from a position of financial strength.” Three months after acquiring the Times, BH Media fired 31 employees, a bit over a tenth of the workforce.