Jeff Bezos (and not the more famous company he runs) will buy one of the most influential news sources in America and become its sole owner.
Bezos, who is paying $250 million in cash for the Post, says he plans to keep his focus on Amazon and will delegate to the existing management team, including Publisher Katharine Weymouth, who is a member of the Graham family that owned the Post for the last four generations.
Although The Washington Post, like other newspapers, has struggled somewhat with changes in the news business, it has one of the most-trafficked websites among its peers. This fact may have attracted Bezos. It’s also possible he wanted to own the most prominent and influential newspaper in Washington, D.C.
Taegan Goddard of Political Wire points out that Amazon has been aggressive about Washington influence:
He also noticed that, “Despite its history, brand and archives, the Washington Post is still worth $65 million less than HuffPo two years ago.”
Bezos was sure to repeat a mantra that every journalist knows well: “The duty of the paper is to the readers, not the owners.” But he also said we can expect change, and that “it will require experimentation,” whatever that means.
Full disclosure: I own a few shares of Amazon stock. Although that company did not buy The Washington Post—its owner did—and I have no particular love for Bezos that I’m aware of, readers should be aware of that potential conflict.
—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer