Mr. Warren Buffett has long held himself out as a newspaper man. As a child, one of his first jobs was delivering newspapers. An Omaha newspaper Berkshire owned, Sun Newspapers, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1973 based in part on a tip Mr. Buffett provided. One of Berkshire’s biggest investments in the 1970s was the Buffalo News, which it still owns.
But his view on the future of the newspaper industry is dismal. “For most newspapers in the United States, we would not buy them at any price,” he said. “They have the possibility of going to just unending losses.”
As long as newspapers were essential to readers, they were essential to advertisers, he said. But news is now available in many other venues, he said.
Berkshire has a substantial investment in Washington Post Co. He said the company has a solid cable business, a good reason to hold on to it, but its newspaper business is in trouble.
Mr. Munger called newspapers’ woes “a national tragedy….These monopoly daily newspapers have been an important sinew to our civilization, they kept government more honest than they would otherwise be.”
A Washington Post Co. representative couldn’t be reached for comment.