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Will the Amazon CEO Change the Face of ‘The Washington Post’?
By: Aprel Phelps Downey
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One of the biggest names in online retailing made a little purchase of his own Monday afternoon. Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos is now the proud owner of the iconic newspaper ‘The Washington Post.' Bezos’s $250 million dollar purchase of the paper comes on the heels of Boston Red Sox’s owner, John W. Henry, purchasing ‘The Boston Globe’ for a cool $70 million dollars over the weekend.
 
Could we be witnessing the end of an era in the traditional newspaper printing industry?
 
Donald Graham, CEO of ‘The Post,’ cites modern journalism publication struggles as the downfall of the historic paper. These struggles included a $49.3 million dollar loss in the first quarter of 2013 and consistently downward spiraling revenues as the year progresses. The paper has been a part of Graham’s family for the last eight decades. Arriving at the decision to place the family heirloom paper up for sale was anything but easy for Graham. In the end he simply felt that perhaps fresh ownership from a new set of eyes could help his beloved publication thrive.
 
In the glory days of print journalism iconic papers like ‘The Washington Post’ and ‘The New York Times’ were family-run operations. That is a fact that still holds true today. At least up until the moment that Bezos signed the sales agreement. Now the Amazon CEO and his media team will swoop in and try to save the time-honored art of traditional print journalism.
 
For the most part Bezos is vowing to not make any immediate changes to the iconic paper. Katharine Weymouth, Post publisher, will remain in her position. Members of her management and editorial teams will remain in place. Bezos announced to the staff on Monday that he will not be involved in the day-to-day, hands-on operations of the newspaper. He’s leaving those duties to Weymouth and her team. He vows to remain true to the long-standing values of the Graham family and ‘The Post’ itself. There will still be courage in finding reliable sources and printing an accurate story above all else.
 
Change will come at some point down the road. Bezos expressed an interest in experimenting with what ‘The Post’ has to offer. Given his background as the founder of Amazon.com, we can’t help but wonder whether or not this experimentation will take a majority of the paper online. Bezos understands perhaps better than anyone the transformative power contained by the Internet. He harnessed this power to create the Internet powerhouse shopping mall that Amazon has become. He may very well be quietly laying the foundation to transform ‘The Washington Post’ in the same manner.
 
In just a few short years we could see ‘The Washington Post’ leave the world of traditional print journalism behind as it makes a powerful new home online, right next door to Amazon.


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About the Author
Aprel Phelps Downey is a writing/marketing professional who holds more than seven years marketing experience, including all aspects of promotional and informational campaigns and website development.  To learn more about Aprel please visit her website at www.aprelphelpsdowney.com or follow her on twitter: @aphelpsdowney.
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