Only two U.S. titles are certain to ride out the challenges besetting the newspaper industry: The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. That’s according to the projections of Warren Buffett, whose company Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A) owns 31 dailies.
In an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday, Buffett said that the survival of the Journal and the Times was assured because they had “developed an online presence that people will pay for.” He added that the Washington Post “may do it” citing the paper’s improved performance under the stewardship of Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos.
“If you look, there are 1,300 daily newspapers left in the United States,” said Buffett. “There were 1,700 or 1,800 not too long ago.”
He continued: “Now, you’ve got the Internet. Aside from the ones I mentioned, 1,400 or 1,300 of them haven’t figured out a way to make the digital model complement the print model.”
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Online adaptation and advertising migrating to digital platforms are not the only challenges facing traditional media. President Trump has repeatedly bashed news organizations that criticize him, he tagged the New York Times, CNN and others with the epithet “failing,” cried “FAKE News” as his advisors relay “alternative facts,” and barred several outlets from a White House briefing on Friday.
His approach, however puerile, may be paying off. Citing a recent poll by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News, Fortune‘s Mathew Ingram reports that critical coverage of the Trump administration’s flaws could be creating more mistrust of the media rather than more mistrust of Trump.