Warren Buffett comes to Greensboro

My first full-time job in newspapers was on the copy desk at the News & Record in Greensboro, N.C. I worked there in the era of pica poles, sizing wheels and composing rooms.

So last week, I read with great interest that the newspaper had been sold to Berkshire Hathaway’s BH Media Group, a k a Warren Buffett. So how did I hear about the sale of the News & Record? On TV or in the newspaper? No, on Facebook.

When I was at the News & Record (long before Facebook), the paper was owned by Landmark Communications. That company also owned daily newspapers in Virginia and Maryland, and perhaps most notably, the Weather Channel. During my time in Greensboro, there were occasional rumors in newsroom that Landmark would expand by buying other newspapers. The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C., was often mentioned in that scuttlebutt.

That never happened, and in the 2000s, the company has contracted. Landmark sold the Weather Channel in 2008. In recent years, the News & Record and other Landmark papers have laid off staff members as a part of the drastic reduction in newsrooms across the country.

So what now for Greensboro? I defer on the details to my friend and former News & Record colleague John Robinson, who has been blogging extensively and intelligently about this change. I share his optimism (hey, BHM is hiring, after all) as well as his concerns that the company will be tempted to consolidate editing/design duties with the newspaper in neighboring Winston-Salem.

No matter what, I will always be grateful for my time in Greensboro. In a little more than two years on the copy desk, I learned lessons and made friends that have had a lifelong impact. I wish the newspaper well under its new ownership.

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