Fabled billionaire J. P. Morgan liked to say: “A man always has two reasons for what he does — a good one and the real one.”
Today’s chirpy billionaire Warren Buffett recently invested billions in — of all things! — newspapers. Just when the gurus of the digital world have dismissed antiquarianism such as print news, Buffett sees a new future for it. Because no one else is able to cover the local scene for you like a local newspaper. Recall the advice: “Think globally, but act locally.”
Our smartphones and tablets gorge us with news on the hour from every corner of the globe. Do you ever get confused between being-informed and being-paralyzed? Knowing what’s happening every hour in Paris and Kabul doesn’t exactly equip you to do much about it. Except fret about things which at one time in history would have taken months to hear and panic about.
Here’s the point.
There is a sharp distinction among: information, knowledge, and decision-making. Today to hold all the information in the world literally in your hand is just that, gobs of raw information. Actual knowledge, on the other hand, is a firm grasp of what this information can mean to you. Finally, decision making is the capacity to act clearly upon the knowledge you possess. Buffett seems to be reminding us of a lost lesson. In the final measure we are in possession of only so much knowledge upon which we can make decisions. This is almost always local — your city council, your streets & sanitation systems, the air and water quality, the status of your schools, the security and progress of your children, the value of your property.
Good to have the facts abut the latest drone strikes in the Middle East and the money crunch in the EU. Far better to have the facts about the latest curricula being introduced down the street in you kids’ classrooms ,and the way the local police are maintaining those streets.
Thanks, Warren, for reminding us that local news is still the best example of news-you-can-use. Unlike Kabul, here at least you have a vote.
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