He did what?
That was the reaction of many to the news that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos had purchased the venerable Washington Post and several of its smaller newspapers for $250 million.
Local observers had a range of reactions to the move when asked by MARKETING to comment on what it might mean for the future of the Post, as well as the newspapers industry in general.
Gloria Fletcher, president of Sound Publishing, which purchased The Everett Herald from The Washington Post Co. earlier this year, said, “I think it’s great! Bezos’ purchase of the Post should renew everyone’s faith in the value and future of newspapers. Those of us who have made newspapers our career know that many newspapers are quite alive and well. But it’s certainly an extra shot of adrenalin when a non-newspaper person agrees.”
John Hamer president and founding executive director of the Washington News Council, called it a “positive step” and urged Bezos to reestablish the Ombudsman position at The Post, which was essentially eliminated earlier this year.
Mike Flynn, former Puget Sound Business Journal publisher who now writes the popular Flynn’s Harp blog, said, “I might have been concerned by Bezos’ purchase of the Post and John Henry’s equally surprising… purchase of the Boston Globe, except for what happened in Orange County with the purchase a year ago of The Register by Aaron Kushner and Eric Spitz. In the year since these two financial-background guys from Boston, who had never been in the media, bought The Register, the staff has doubled and the print newspaper is filled with news, and increasingly with ads.” Flynn also noted that Kushner instituted a $1 a day charge for web visits.
Penny Peabody, my long-time colleague in community newspapers and at Metro, said, “Based on his amazing accomplishments with Amazon. I think Jeff Bezos will do a fine job as owner of The Post. We’re fortunate that someone with his resources, experience and talent has chosen to acquire The Post. And I’m looking forward to seeing where he will take it in the next few years and how that will impact American journalism.”