Most of the time away from work, I am sifting through publications to stay informed. Newspapers are an essential part of this process. Speaking of news, Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos is buying The Washington Post. Bezos will pay 250 million in cash. This transaction has set the social media into a roar and shocked many readers .
In a letter regarding his most recent acquisition, Bezos maintains, “The duty of the paper is to the readers, not the owners.” Also, he will not lead the daily operations or change the current leadership of the paper. Fortunately, there is a consensus emerging from all of this.
- The leadership of the publication will not change.
- There are no plans for layoffs among the paper’s employees.
- Jeff Bezos will become the sole owner and it will take 60 days to complete the sale.
- Bezos plans on taking the Washington Post company private.
There are more details in an article by media reporter Paul Farhi. According to Farhi’s report, the paper suffered a 44 percent decline in operating revenue in the last 6 years. The paper’s management believes this move will give the paper an opportunity to succeed (and not just survive) in the future.
The Washington Post is not immune to the economic turbulence which still affects papers. We are in the age of the Internet. People can go anywhere to get their news. Also, individuals can place classified advertisements (once a viable source for a newspaper’s income) on Craigslist for free.
There are some concerns. What will Bezos change about The Washington Post? At this point, it is premature to offer anything but speculation. I cannot imagine that the founder of an Internet conglomerate will continue the print version of the newspaper. Some individuals do not own a Kindle or I-Pad.
Will Bezos give The Post the same amount of patience and latitude he allowed for Amazon? I have concerns regarding coverage. The Post develop its reputation my providing coverage of politics. What about local news and features which represent the heart of any newspaper?
All anyone can do is express their apprehension and wait. The Internet provides individuals with opportunity to get access to information. Arguably, social media offers more democracy than our political system. The downside is that most people do not have the time to sort through endless amount of data.
Journalists have a vetting process and check their sources. Reporting culls through all of the nonsense and present useful information. The Washington Post is far from perfect. However, we need more than 140 characters and 60 second sound bites. Readers need more coverage in a world that is constantly changing. The Post will receive an infusion of cash. Hopefully, this invaluable publication will not have to compromise its editorial independence for the sake of profits and market share.