|Founded||August 24, 1885|
The Omaha World-Herald is a daily newspaper in the midwestern United States, the primary newspaper of the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area. Based in Omaha, for decades it circulated daily throughout Nebraska and Iowa, as well as parts of Kansas, South Dakota, Missouri, Colorado, and Wyoming. In 2008, distribution was reduced to the eastern third of Nebraska and western Iowa. In 2011, Omaha native Warren Buffett purchased the paper via his holdings company Berkshire Hathaway. In 2020, BH Media Group and the World-Herald were purchased by Lee Enterprises.
The World-Herald had for many years been the newspaper with the highest penetration rate - the percentage of people who subscribe to the publication within the paper's home circulation area - in the United States.
The Omaha World-Herald also operates the website Omaha.com, the region's most popular website by all measures of traffic.
The company dubs its downtown Omaha production center the John Gottschalk Freedom Center. The Freedom Center also houses its three printing presses, which can each print 75,000 papers per hour, and are considered to be some of the most advanced in the world. In 2006, the company purchased the 16-story former Northwestern Bell/Qwest Communications building in downtown Omaha as a new base for its news, editorial, circulation and business operations.
The newspaper was founded in 1885 by Gilbert M. Hitchcock, as the Omaha Evening World. The first issue was published on August 24, 1885. It purchased George L. Miller's Omaha Herald (The Omaha Republican, owned by Omaha Printing Company, currently Aradius Group) in 1889. The paper was established as an independent political voice but quickly moved to the Democratic Party column. William Jennings Bryan was its editor in 1894-1896. Hitchcock served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and, starting in 1911, two Senate terms. It was a more objective voice than the Omaha Bee, which tended to sensationalize news to drum up sales.
His son-in-law, Henry Doorly, took control of the paper after Hitchcock's death in 1934. The editorial page began leaning Republican after Hitchcock's death. Over his lifetime, Doorly served 58 years at the paper.
In 1962, the World Publishing Company, owned solely by heirs of the Hitchcock/Doorly families, was on the verge of selling the World-Herald to the Newhouse chain, but instead accepted an offer from local construction magnate Peter Kiewit, whose namesake company is a member of the Fortune 500. When he died, Kiewit left provisions in his will to ensure that the paper would remain locally owned, with a large part of the plan securing employee ownership.
On November 30, 2011, the Omaha World-Herald announced that Berkshire Hathaway, headed by Omaha native Warren Buffett, would buy the newspaper for $150 million pending a vote by its shareholders, including active employees, retired employees and the Peter Kiewit Foundation. Also included in the sale were the World-Herald subsidiary newspapers in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Kearney, Nebraska, Grand Island, Nebraska, York, Nebraska, North Platte, Nebraska and Scottsbluff, Nebraska.