The day Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post

The day Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post

In August 2013, Jeff Bezos – founder and owner of Amazon – made a slightly strange announcement: Take over Washington Post at $250 million. Many people wondered, why did Jeff Bezos buy this newspaper?

The name Bezos has always been associated with the digital world. Amazon was a product of the vision of the 90s, when the internet little by little started changing people’s habits. Therefore, the newspaper is almost the antithesis of the above: an old work, from another era, and already in 2013 entered the era of the media crisis, especially the print media.

Without going any further, in 2013 Washington Post He was losing and losing money because he wasn’t oblivious to the problems of print newspapers or the traditional format that started making the leap on the Internet.

Years later, life Washington Post It’s a bit different because of the changes Jeff Bezos has introduced. And these changes had little to do with the newspaper’s editorial management – he himself later admitted that he knew nothing of journalism – but rather the modernization and digitization of the company.

From the Jeff Bezos purchase so far, Washington Post She managed to double the traffic and significantly increase the number of paid subscribers, which in turn stopped significant losses of money.

But the question in the first paragraph remains unanswered: Why would a digital entrepreneur buy something so typical of the analog world as a newspaper?

Jeff Bezos looking at the computer

Everything seems to indicate that he is not a whim of a billionaire, as Blue Origin’s status can be attributed And his trips to space. According to Marty Baron, former editor of Washington Post Until 2021, Jeff Bezos firmly believes that “the mission of the press is very important to democracy” and that is why publications like this are so essential.

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However, this presence must occur in other words, some quite different from those that gave rise to print newspapers. before buying Washington PostJeff Bezos commented in an interview That paper newspapers “will die in 20 years” and that it will only be a luxury for people to read in hotels. Bezos also emphasized that no one would pay to read stories online.

Eight years later, those predictions were half correct. The paper newspaper, at least, begins to be irrelevant, but free news on the web, on the other hand, deserves a longer discussion: although users do not pay for the most part, digital media operating under subscription services is becoming more and more like his own Washington Post.

But certainly none of that matters much to Jeff Bezos these days. Not anymore Be the CEO of Amazon It gave him more free time, among other things, to continue dealing with leads Washington PostNot oblivious to criticism and problems: in 2018, a large number of newspaper workers got into a dispute over the low wages they were receiving, while in 2016 there were already bots Write stories about what happened at the Rio Olympics.

The story sounds very similar to the Amazon story.

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