When investor and newspaper fan Warren Buffett bought the Media General newspaper chain last year, there was hope for all of them, including the Manassas News & Messenger and the Richmond Times-Dispatch. But Buffett’s company announced today it is shutting down the News & Messenger after 143 years, as well as its highly informative Web site, InsideNoVA.com. It is the only paper in the Media General chain being shuttered by World Media Enterprises, a division of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
This is horrendous news for everyone in Prince William County and those who care about Prince William news. The News & Messenger and InsideNoVA are the definitive source of news in Prince William. Their reporters and editors work extremely hard to cover government, breaking news, high school sports, the latest lottery winners, everything.
InsideNoVA also has a Facebook page with more than 26,000 followers, and when they post stories there they get plenty of reaction . Reaction that isn’t standard anonymous-crazy comments because people must use their Facebook accounts to post, which makes a lot of sense.
World Media chairman Terry Kroeger told me this morning there was ”a lot of competition for the ad dollars.” I whined and complained about losing the biggest news source in a county of 400,000 people. “It is too bad,” Kroeger said. “We didn’t see a way to take the negative financial momentum and turn it positive. We didn’t take this lightly. We worked very hard to develop their plans, and we just could not get there.”