Amazon founder Jeff Bezos last night completed his bargain-basement takeover of the Washington Post, which he bought for $250m in cash. When the buyout plan was announced in August, 49-year-old billionaire Bezos said of the bold move: "This will be uncharted terrain and it will require experimentation." While other internet …
This morning's Post arrived with an envelope from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), presumably a sign-up form, stuffed in with the ads. I couldn't help wonder whether this reflected Bezos's take on the newspaper's demographics generally, or whether they've already revved up their microtargeting.
The NY Times (I think it was) quoted an industry analyst on rich folks buying papers: I can only assume that they have large fortunes they wish to turn into small ones. This is not an uncommon pattern in US journalism. Eugene Meyer, the grandfather of Donald Graham, made a lot of money in banking before he bought the Washington Post. William Randolph Hearst had a lot of mining money.
Let it go
I've seen a lot of hand-wringing over who will report wrongdoings and be a watchdog when newspapers go away. However, in my fair city, the radio and tv stations have been doing a much better job of this in the nearly twenty years since the newspaper was sold to a national conglomerate.
All we get nowadays are articles sucking up to rich people, shouting about the governor trying to be fiscally responsible in an economic downturn, and demanding higher taxes on working people to pay for bigger government. Given the somewhat conservative/libertarian leanings the city has, they aren't exactly targeting the largest market.
Newspapers had their day, as did buggy manufacturers and hula hoops. They are being killed by craigslist, the web (particularly Google and other news conglomerators), and so on. Hell, they never even adjusted to CNN delivering national and international news, let alone the internet. Better to let them die than to keep the pain going with life support.
Bezos paid something between $250 and $500 per reader. You'd think that a nationally famous newspaper would sell millions of copies but you'd be wrong. The post sells less than 1 million at best.
And on a sad, but only tangentally-related note
New York City Opera, having raised only $2 million of the $7 million it needed to keep going, is going titsup after 69 years, it was announced.
If you're throwing millions around (a mere pittance to you) on cultural relics of a bygone era, this one could sure use your help, Mr. Bezos.
Re: And on a sad, but only tangentally-related note
We don't need Opera...nor true enlightening education systems...nor anything that might enlighten the people to the criminal element that their government has become...nor how to redress their government under law.
The music is homogenized and unsurprising...the movies are the same.
This, my friends is the beginning of a Brave New World.
Maybe Bezos will reinvigorate true journalism and bring about a return to Free Press...
lol yeah...get ready for your Soma folks...
Glories of Youth
"that broke Watergate"
Nowadays carrying water for AIPAC and various imperalist agendas or else permashilling for various D.C. powerplayers. Called the "Neocon Post" for a reason.
They even waited for the Guardian to come out with the Snowden Snowball first.
That outfit needs a slash and burn.
Re: Glories of Youth
Yup - in fact the whole journalism industry dines out on watergate. The only ones doing any real investigating these days is the grauniad.
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