Under the pressure of declining revenues, the Graham family is selling the venerable Washington Post to Jeffrey Bezos, founder of Amazon. The newspaper may benefit from the change of ownership as a privately held entity not subject to the demands of shareholders for escalating profits. (The Washington Post, August 5, 2013, by Paul Farhi)
Bezos is expected to strengthen the newspaper in its challenges to adapt to the Internet age. But the most critical challenge for Bezos, writes Gene Polincinski of the First Amendment Center, August 6, 2013, will be to foster the reputation of a newspaper that under the Graham family ownership broke the Watergate scandal, published the Pentagon papers and held the federal government accountable for the last 80 years.
Some critics of the sale says that it bodes ill for newspapers and announces once again the value of newspapers in the Internet era. (The Wrap, August 5, 2013, by Brent Lang and Sharon Waxman)
Yet Bezos has money and no pressure to produce instant profits so can try out different ways to improve the Post over the long run. (The New York Times, August 7, 2013, by Jenna Wortham and Amy O’Leary)
James Fallows laments the decline of the Post as one of the country’s formost newspapers, “…the Post was fully in the national-newspaper derby and measured itself every day against the Times in talent level, depth and breadth of reporting, international coverage, sophistication, and all the other measures of a nationally ambitious operation.” Fallows is optimistic that the Bezos will spend the money, chump change to him, to pay for the foreign reporting, investigative initiatives and government-accountability coverage to resurrect the Post. (The Atlantic, August 5, 3013)