Amazon.com billionaire buys Washington Post
On Aug. 5, billionaire founder and CEO of Amazon.com Jeff Bezos purchased the Washington Post, a newspaper circulated throughout Washington D.C. This transaction is a surprising move due to the fact that he does not have much prior history dealing with journalism and the reporting world.
Thankfully, this purchase does not mean that the newspaper will be under the thumb of a major company. The Washington Post announced, “Amazon.com, the huge, publicly traded Fortune 500 Company, does not own The Washington Post or any of its affiliated publications. Bezos is buying us with his personal fortune rather than through Amazon.”
Bezos may not have a significant amount of journalistic experience, but this shift invites the possibility that owning or working in areas outside of one’s expertise can indeed work. This ties back to the students on campus. Often times, many students join organizations that focus on things outside of the students’ major. This occurs at the OU Daily, where editors and columnists are more than just journalism majors.
Bringing our focus back to on the ownership transition; Bezos states in a letter to the Washington Post employees that, “The values of The Post do not need changing. The paper’s duty will remain to its readers and not to the private interests of its owners. We will continue to follow the truth wherever it leads, and we’ll work hard not to make mistakes. When we do, we will own up to them quickly and completely.”
It is a relief that Bezos stated he intends to stay committed to the ideas of news journalism and the traditions of the Washington Post. He wants to maintain the integrity of the newspaper and continue to provide an accurate and reliable source of information for readers. While the purchase has resulted in the paper changing ownership, the day-to-day operations should stay the same.
With the decline of physical newspapers and such in the recent years, this is a bold investment. Bezos bought the paper for $250 million in cash. It is expected that he will have to put a lot more money into the company to convert it and change it before he will start to see returns.
According to the Washington Post, “the newspaper division, which includes both the businesses that Bezos is buying as well as other properties like Slate, lost $14.8 million in the last quarter.”
He himself has declared that the online portion will be experiencing change. In order to appeal to the readers, he will find out what is important to them and focus on what draws their attention. For the paper’s sake, hopefully this will be the move needed to help bring the paper back into the important position that it once held.
I hope this move proves to be beneficial to the Post and to its readership. I am optimistic that while changes will take place, the essence of the newspaper and its core values will remain untouched. With luck, the importance of truth will be more important than making a quick buck.
As leaders of organizations change over time, the quality and integrity of any original production can still be maintained. That applies to organizations all over campus, as well as local and national businesses.
Hopefully this will continue in the future and there will not be a decline in the quality of work produced.