* Manassas News & Messenger to shut on Dec. 30
* 33 jobs will be eliminated
* Paper is 143 years old
Nov 14 Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway
plans to shutter the 143-year-old News & Messenger in
Manassas, Virginia, just six months after it was scooped up from
The 10,000 circulation newspaper, its website, and its
companion weekly publication will close on Dec. 30, the day the
final print edition will be published. The move affects the
staff of 33 whose jobs will be eliminated.
The announcement was made on Wednesday by World Media
Enterprise, which operates the 63 newspapers that Berkshire
Hathaway acquired from Media General in
"Business conditions drove us to this decision," wrote Doug
Hiemstra, president of World Media Enterprises, in a post
published on the News & Messenger's website Insidenova.com.
"We do not see a long-term viable way to maintain a daily
news operation here."
Buffett, who not too long ago derided newspapers as
investments, changed course this year, snapping up scores of
small and mid-sized papers throughout the United States.
In addition to the majority of Media General's newspaper
properties, he recently purchased a paper in Texas and took a
small stake in the newspaper chain Lee Enterprises.
Known as the "Oracle of Omaha," Buffett's acquisition
approach to newspapers is to buy small publications that cover
the local market. Though he holds a stake in the Washington Post
Co, he shuns large metropolitan newspapers.
The closing of such a small paper in the Berkshire stable
could be a sign that even publications that are laser-focused on
community news are facing serious challenges.
Indeed, Buffett said in a CNBC interview in October that
revenue is down about 1 percent at Berkshire's smaller papers.
"Let me be clear: World Media remains bullish on community
newspapers and our ability to publish news and advertising
content on a variety of platforms that is useful to our readers
and the communities in which they live," Hiemstra wrote on the
News & Messenger's website.