Floyd Press owner buying The Roanoke Times

The Roanoke Times
The Roanoke Times (Photo credit: AndrewKantor)

BH Media Group, the newspaper chain that owns The Floyd Press and several other newspapers in Virginia and other states, will officially purchase The Roanoke Times Friday, employees of the paper were told today.

BH Media is owned by billionaire Warren Buffett in Omaha.  He owns The Omaha-World Herald and the Buffalo News along with more than 63 other daily and weekly newspapers around the country.

Unlike many mega-media owners, Buffett appears less concerned with making money from his newspaper than he is with salvaging what is left of community newspapers in America.

“If you want to know what’s going on in your town – whether the news is about the mayor or taxes or high school football – there is no substitute for a local newspaper that is doing its job,’’ he said in a recent letter to stockholders of Berkshire-Hathaway, his holding company.

For me, another part of a circle is complete.  I worked for The Floyd Press while in high school from 1963-65 and then went on to report for The Roanoke Times after graduation, leaving the paper in 1969 and moving to another paper in Illinois.

Now I’m back at The Floyd Press, which Buffet purchased in a sale involving most newspapers owned by Media General last year and now he is buying the paper where I worked for four years nearly a half-century ago.

But he can – and will — close papers that are not meeting his expectations.  BH Media closed the News and Messenger in Manassas at the end of last year, saying the paper “had a tough time finding the sense of community that a community newspaper needs to prosper.”  The Manassas closing, however, was rare.

Looks like the old Chinese proverb about “may we live in interesting times” is coming true.

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