Bleak prognosis for US local papers

Friday, February 14, 2020

Last year, New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet bleakly predicted the demise of “most local newspapers in America” within five years, except for ones bought by billionaires.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post and has invested in its newsroom. California billionaire Patrick Soon Shiong brought local ownership to the Los Angeles Times when he bought it.

But the arrival of moneyed interests can prove fleeting. Two weeks ago, billionaire Warren Buffett said he was selling all of Berkshire Hathaway’s publications: 31 daily newspapers in 10 states as well as 49 paid weekly publications with digital sites.

Buffett has said he expects most newspapers to continue on their declining trajectory save for a handful of national papers.

McClatchy’s origins date to 1857, when it began publishing a four-page paper in Sacramento, California, following the California Gold Rush. That paper became The Sacramento Bee. McClatchy is still based in Sacramento.

“McClatchy remains a strong operating company with an enduring commitment to independent journalism that spans five generations of my family,″ said Chairman Kevin McClatchy, the great-great grandson of the company founder, James McClatchy.-AP