Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to buy Washington Post

Jeff Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon, will buy the Washington Post for $250 million.  I suppose it is not as bad as the Post being bought by the Koch brothers or Rupert Murdoch.  We’ll see.

Bezos’ politics might be described as Silicon Valley liberalism.  He is a champion of gay rights, but not in the right of his employees to decent working conditions.

I worked on newspapers for 40 years, and liked to believe that journalism was a calling and more than just a way for journalists to earn a salary and owners to earn a profit.

Most (not all) of the historically great American newspapers were owned by families who believed in the newspapers’ mission, rather than by corporations whose main business was elsewhere.

Bezos will own the Washington Post as an individual and incorporate it into Amazon, so he doesn’t fall into either category.  It will be interesting to see what his intentions are.


Washington Post to be sold to Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, the Washington Post’s report.

Jeff Bezos Letter to Washington Post employees

Brutal Conditions in Amazon’s Warehouses by Business Insider.

Independent Media and Dependent Media by Dean Starkman for the Columbia Journalism Review.  (Hat tip to Daniel Brandt)

Flurry of recent deals spurs question:  Who’s next? from the Gannett Blog.

[Update 8/8/13]

Why the Washington Post isn’t a charity case for Jeff Bezos by Ezra Klein for the Washington Post’s Wonkblog.

Jeff Bezos and his journalists by Felix Salmon for the Columbia Journalism Review.

Salmon made an interesting argument that the greatest newspapers have not been the most efficiently-run newspapers, but organizations with enough slack in the system to enable talented people to pursue their own ideas.  Great newspapers have been run by publishers who were interested in news for its own sake.  Salmon thinks this is possible but unlikely, since Bezos will be in Seattle and preoccupied with his own business.   Of course the tradeoffs between efficiency and creativity exist in many enterprises besides newspapers (not that inefficiency makes you creative).

It may be that Jeff Bezos is not particularly interested in the internal workings of the Washington Post but just wants a vehicle for influencing public opinion on governmental policy affecting Amazon—which is currently the world’s largest retailer.

[Update 8/11/13]

Actually Amazon is not the world’s largest retailer.

Click on 2013 Top 100 Retailers for estimates of its sales and ranking.

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One Response to “Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to buy Washington Post”

  1. adamfhutton Says:

    Reblogged this on Journalism Ends Here.


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