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Are newspapers a thing of the past?
James Thomas
Former Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas - photo by Photo provided.

Are newspapers a thing of the past?

I ask this because I read recently that Warren Buffet (the Oracle of Omaha) has divested himself of his investment in newspapers. When other investors see this, will they also sell their stock in the newspaper industry? 

If so, I view that as troublesome, because I wonder if it marks the beginning of the end of local newspapers as we know them. I hope not. Some of my favorite times were spent reading local newspapers and discussing their stories with my friends and neighbors.

In a perfect world I would continue to start each day with a newspaper and a cup of my wife’s wonderful coffee. After our morning discussions I would have a go at the crossword puzzles and Sudoku. 

Those pleasures are being replaced by social media or a quick read on a computer screen. Neither is as satisfying as a real newspaper. 

I know things change and we must adapt, but I am old fashioned to some degree and prefer my simple pleasures. 

I began reading newspapers when I was a child. I would read them with my father in the evening after he came home from work, but my favorite time of all to read the paper was on Sunday morning. Dad and I would drink coffee, read the paper and he would discuss his week with me along with articles from the newspaper.  

We did this on those Sundays that my mother would take my sisters to church and Dad and I would stay home. On those days we would both read the paper and he would talk to me about the world as he saw it. 

He taught me many things as we talked and dreamed of places that were mentioned in the paper. 

My father never visited any of those places, but through the eyes of some of my favorite reporters I got to know things about the world that I later visited and saw in person. 

During World War II, when both my mother and father were gone, we stayed with my grandparents, and I would read the paper with my grandfather, which made me feel special because he would talk and explain the world to me. He also required me read to him and then explain what I read. 

Some of the reporters I’ve read had a special way of conveying their thoughts and views of a news story that caught my interest (think Lewis Grizzard and others). 

The way that they told the story was unique and thought provoking. Based on their personal history and their backgrounds, the story took on a flavor that we don’t get today. 

I still tend to enjoy those stories that have local flavor and that seek to inform me about issues of importance in our communities. I enjoy reading articles that are well written from a reporter with local or regional knowledge of the issues. 

And, at this stage of my life, I appreciate reading articles that inform me, though it seems that many articles with a national or international scope seem to be written by one reporter with a certain viewpoint and this view is shared and reported on by others with the same viewpoint. 

This may be caused by the fact that readers may not want to hear other viewpoints. In my way of thinking, the more views on a subject that are published the better I can evaluate the importance of an issue. 

I am in favor of having a good mixture of local as well as national and international news, and especially having articles written from a local and regional standpoint with reporters that know our area. 

I recently read a quotation that I feel exemplifies the worth of a newspaper.

“The reader who is illuminated is, in a real sense, the poem.” 

Henry Major Tomlinson 

Thomas is a retired Green Beret and former mayor of Hinesville, and wrote this on behalf of the Courier, which like many newspapers is trying to adapt to an uncertain future. We’ll be asking community leaders from time to time to share their thoughts on newspapers. Feel free to share yours by emailing Jeff Whitten at 


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