This weekend, in a twinge of nostalgia on the 40th anniversary of Watergate, I rented All The President’s Men. I never get tired of the Jason Robards (as Ben Bradlee) line:
"Nothing's riding on this except the First Amendment of the Constitution, freedom of the press and maybe the future of this country"
What happened to those media heavy hitters?
Last year, as I interviewed Washington Post execs for my book, I was thrilled to get from them a photo of Ben Bradlee and Bob Woodward handling iPads. It was part of their new iPad app promotion. Those heavyweights are far from retired.
And the rumors of the demise of “traditional” media are greatly exaggerated. Last week as I analyzed the biggest sources of innovation stories for the New Florence blog, that media did extremely well.
Joe McKendrick writes about the legendary investor, Warren Buffett and his recent investment in newspapers. He asks “Is that sentimental or savvy?”
Talking of Buffett, here is what I wrote in an InformationWeek guest column:
“(My growing book) research actually led me to a detour. I tried to find industries that were NOT thinking about smart products and services. An executive suggested I look at the portfolio of the legendary investor, Warren Buffett. He has made a fortune avoiding companies that are susceptible to technology turmoil. So, I looked at some of his investments. They include Coke, Burlington Northern, and Procter & Gamble, and found an Internet-linked vending machine, satellite-based railcar tracking, and social media innovations. They're actually very savvy technology innovators.”
The executive who suggested I look at Buffett’s portfolio? Don Graham, Chairman and CEO of the Washington Post, which is now an impressively diversified technology company. From my book:
Its Kaplan unit is one of the largest online education companies. Its Cable One unit is one of the largest cable companies in the United States and services a number of rural communities. It has digital properties like Slate. It has invested in startups like Avenue100, which provides marketing analytics to institutions. Trove (previously iCurrent) is a social news site and aggregator, and SocialCode helps companies with Facebook advertising and user engagement campaigns.
Traditional media is not dead. It is evolving and in many ways far more aware and relevant for our digital world than so-called “new media”. And Buffett is far more tech-savvy than his “aw-shucks” style would suggest.