It could not have been a good feeling to come to work at The Washington Post one fateful day recently and find a memo on your cubicle desk that said, “We’ve been bought out by the guy who founded Amazon.” The world’s largest online retailer is known for cutting edge technology and innovation, and print newspapers are known for covering yesterday’s news. Obviously, any fears about how this model would turn out were completely founded.
According to an article for TheVerge.com, Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, has now attended two different meetings at The Post, and apparently this most recent meeting ended with a standing ovation for the man who just sunk a reported $250 million into a print newspaper, albeit a news company rooted in history and who is still known for its engaging investigative journalism.
There has been a lot of speculation about how the Bezos Effect might impact the stalwart newspaper. One of the most widely thought views is that he will do his utmost to bring the technology behind the newspaper and its digital edition up to speed, something that a number of newspapers flounder with. It will also be interesting to see if the man behind one of the most value-conscious and successful retailers will have any impact on the current method newspapers employ of paywalling their digital content, allowing only so much of an article or a paper to be read for free before requiring payment.
As The Verge so interestingly pointed out, this crop of staff members at the paper were not put off by the man who plans to make some digital changes. In fact, while an older group might have expressed some disdain for a changing model for how a newspaper should run, the staff who were in the meeting were pleased with what they heard. That could have a little something to do with the fact that Bezos firmly stated that if any more layoffs or spending cuts were to take place at The Post, there wouldn’t be a newspaper left.