Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos purchased The Washington Post for $250 million. This now means that there are only a few family-owned metro dailies left – The New York Times being one of the last bastions. The shock heard around the newspaper industry was not universally celebrated. Bezos wrote a memo to newsroom employees that elaborated on their understandable apprehension to the big change. He was vague about his plans to innovate, as are most media owners right now: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/jeff-bezos-on-post-purchase/2013/08/05/e5b293de-fe0d-11e2-9711-3708310f6f4d_story.html
Media reactions have been across the board. Some reacted with relief to the difference between this purchase and the Tribune Company fiasco (remembering Sam Zell’s infamous leadership skills) or a Rupert Murdoch mouthpiece. Ken Auletta gave interviews today on “CBS This Morning” and “The Diane Rehm Show” on NPR about the tumult of the announcement and its effect on the newspaper industry. In these interviews he warns that the New York Times could be next: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505263_162-57597145/wapo-sale-what-does-it-mean-for-the-newspaper-industry/, http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2013-08-06/sale-washington-post-and-future-print-journalism
POLITICO, which was started by journalists from The Washington Post, had an interesting reaction. John Harris wonders if Jeff Bezos will solve the Post‘s current problems: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/08/jeff-bezos-washington-post-sale-amazon-95212.html?hp=t1
Famed Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward supports the sale, stating that the newspaper business needs to be shaken up: http://www.politico.com/multimedia/video/2013/08/bob-woodward-jeff-bezos-isnt-rupert-murdoch.html?ml=vi_1
The Guardian elaborates on some missed opportunities on the part of Donald Graham, the previous owner: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/aug/06/washington-post-sale-graham-family
What does this sale mean for the newspaper industry? Will it lead journalism into the future? Why does Bezos want to own The Washington Post? How did the industry get to this point? How did The Washington Post fall so hard?
In FIT TO PRINT, our interviews with Washington Post executives will shed light on how we got here. Here’s a hint: Missed Opportunities.
Patrick Gavin from Politico wrote about the making of “Fit to Print”. Please check it out here:
Jack Mirkinson reports on The New Orleans Times-Picayune:
The New Orleans Times-Picayune, the paper that became internationally famous for its courageous reporting during Hurricane Katrina, is facing steep cuts and will end its 175-year history of daily publication, the paper announced Thursday. The move will leave New Orleans as the biggest city in the United States without a major daily paper.
Jack Shafer reports on Warren Buffett:
Just because Warren Buffettblew $142 million in cash on 63 daily and weekly Media General newspaper titles yesterday doesn’t mean that newspapers are back. All it means is that an old cow that’s still a milker has been moved to a neighboring farm’s pasture, where it will be squeezed until it can give no more and will then be ground into pet food.
Betsy Rothstein features a post on “Fit to Print” on MediaBistro:
Who says being a NYT staffer who got laid off in the 2009 cuts won’t get you someplace?
Mariah Blake reports on The Washington Times:
During his long career, Arnaud de Borchgrave, a one-time Newsweek correspondent and editor, has earned his share of laurels. Fellow journalist Theodore H. White has called him one of “America’s great foreign correspondents.” “In a job that requires bluff and bravado, he has outrun the best of them,” Esquire gushed in a lengthy profile, which is quoted in de Borchgrave’s official bio. Along the way, he has also racked up some fancy titles, including director of the transnational threats project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
A new documentary, now in post production, asks that crucial question. It’s based on interviews with laid-off reporters, including some who’ve worked for Gannett.
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