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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Amazon buys Washington Post

Is this the end of an ultra-conservative era?

The WP changes hands

Bezos, who founded the online shopping company in 1994 and became a billionaire in the process, has vowed to continue the newspaper’s long history of independent journalism. His technical and marketing savvy, long-term outlook and lack of an apparent ideological agenda made him an attractive steward for the paper, Post Co. chief executive Donald E. Graham said in August, when an agreement in principle was first disclosed.

At the same time, Bezos, 49, has the deep pockets to sustain an enterprise that has been buffeted for years by declining readership and advertising, especially in the printed Post.
The Post’s new owner hasn’t disclosed specific plans or changes he intends to make for the money-losing paper. But in earlier interviews and on a two-day visit to The Post’s downtown Washington headquarters in early September, he suggested that he’ll provide a financial cushion — or “runway” — that will allow The Post time to conduct experiments that could lead to a successful business model.

The Washington Post Co. will continue to operate as a separate company without The Post newspaper. It is the parent company for a variety of businesses, including cable-TV systems, TV stations and the Kaplan education company. It will change its name to reflect the newspaper’s sale, but a new name hasn’t been announced yet. Graham will continue as chief executive of the renamed company.

Although Bezos will head the new organization, the rest of the paper’s management won’t change. Publisher Katharine Weymouth will continue in that job, as will executive editor Martin Baron.
Bezos himself will remain chief executive of Amazon, based in Seattle. He has said he will visit the paper periodically but will devote most of his attention to his “day job” running Amazon, which had revenue of $61 billion last year.

Weymouth, who is Graham’s niece, will be The Post’s sole remaining connection to the family that has guided and shaped the newspaper for four generations.

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