What WaPo Thinks of Bezos After 2 Days With Him

Soon-to-be owner charms journos
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2013 6:31 AM CDT
Bezos to Post : 'If It's Hopeless, I Wouldn't Join You'
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos laughs during an interview Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2009, in Cupertino, Calif.   (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Jeff Bezos has spent two days at the Washington Post getting to know his new acquisition, and giving its staff a chance to get to know him. The staff verdict: Thumbs up, reports the New York Times. They appreciated the Amazon founder's sense of optimism and long-range plans to keep the Post at the forefront of journalism. "He charmed the room of 20 hard-bitten journalists," the paper's investigative head says, noting Bezos' support for investigative journalism.

"You got the feeling that he is not here to just take the Washington Post brand name and turn it into something else," a reporter says. "This is not somebody who is in a panic trying to make a profit for next year. He wants to solve it in a way that will endure for decades." Bob Woodward, meanwhile, was impressed with the "wide-ranging and methodical" Bezos. The soon-to-be owner, for his part, let staffers in on his thinking. A few nuggets, via those who attended the meetings and the Post itself:

  • "If it’s hopeless, I would feel sorry for you guys, but I wouldn’t want to join you," he said, per journalist Cara Ann Kelly.
  • Still, “What’s been happening over the last several years can’t continue to happen."
  • "It should be as easy to get a subscription to the Post as it is to buy diapers on Amazon."
  • "People will buy a package," but "they will not pay for (an individual) story."
  • "All businesses need to be forever young ... If your customer base ages with you as a company, you’re Woolworth’s."
  • As to content: "Don't be boring."
(More Jeff Bezos stories.)

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