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.