Last week in this space, I wrote about Buffalo News chairman Warren Buffett's surprising purchase of 26 daily newspapers. I included his letter to all of his publishers and editors in which he said that strong local coverage will help save papers in certain kinds of communities. It was a rare moment of optimism for newspapers amid the general doom and gloom of a troubled industry. Read last week's post here.
On a far less upbeat note for all of us ink-stained sorts, a competing visionary -- Clay Shirky of New York University -- now offers a significantly more dour point of view. He says Buffett will be proven wrong, and that strong local coverage doesn't provide an adequate business model.
You can read Shirky's view here. Shirky is a seminal thinker, and a well respected one, on how technology affects media. He's always provocative and often right.
Then again, Buffett is known as the Oracle of Omaha. We have here a case of dueling crystal balls.
I don't know whose point of view will prevail when the full story is told. But, in this case, I know who I'm rooting for.