Thursday, January 30, 2014

Bezos Launching Major Expansion at the Washington Post

WaPo reports on itself:
The Washington Post has significantly increased its budget and plans to make dozens of newsroom hires under its new owner, the Amazon founder Jeffrey P. Bezos, the paper’s executive editor, Marty Baron, said in an interview on Wednesday.

Mr. Bezos has closely consulted with The Post’s leadership in plotting its growth strategy and the moves represent Mr. Bezos’s “first mark on the paper,” Mr. Baron said.

The Post will introduce several initiatives this year, Mr. Baron said in a memo to his staff on Wednesday. There will be five new politics reporters as well as photo editors, data visualization specialists, news desk staff and web designers. It will add a breaking news desk and a Sunday style and arts section, as well as a revamped Sunday magazine that will be “bigger in dimension and in the number of pages, with a new design and a range of new features.”


The Media Equation: As I Was Saying About Web Journalism ... a Bubble, or a Lasting Business?JAN. 29, 2014
The plan will be executed quickly — interviews for new hires began weeks ago — and represents “a substantial expansion of the budget,” Mr. Baron said, though he declined to provide precise figures.

Shortly after Mr. Bezos bought the paper, Mr. Baron and other senior staff were “asked to come up with ideas for what we wanted to do,” Mr. Baron said. In late October, he and several colleagues flew to Bellevue, Wash., to meet with Mr. Bezos and present the plan. There were also conference calls and email exchanges, as well as in-person meetings at The Post’s offices in Washington.

Mr. Bezos would “just challenge our assumptions, cause us to rethink things,” he said. “He’s spent his entire life and his entire career thinking about where the consumer will be in the long run, and where the technology will be in the long run.”

The crucial question, and the one that preoccupies Mr. Bezos, Mr. Baron said, is, “How do we produce growth?”

“And obviously our growth,” said Mr. Baron, “as well as the growth of institutions like The New York Times is likely to come from the digital arena.”

There has been fervent speculation about Mr. Bezos’s intentions since August when he announced that he was paying $250 million in cash to acquire The Post. Many hoped he would try to reinvent the ailing newspaper business just as he had revolutionized retail at

Mr. Baron said he believed that Mr. Bezos “was purchasing The Post in order to make more of it, rather than make less of it.” That became clear in their discussions about the paper’s initiatives. “His entire business history is oriented around growth,” Mr. Baron said.

Mr. Bezos has not weighed in on individual hires, Mr. Baron said, but his involvement has been more at a strategic level, discussing the paper’s priorities and goals.

“He hasn’t been passive,” Mr. Baron said. “He’s heavily engaged, keenly interested in what our ideas are. He offered his own thoughts and expressed a willingness to invest.”
The key here will be who WaPo hires for the new reporting slots? Will it be more of the same, establishment mouthpieces?


  1. Sounds like he is letting the existing team do the hiring. These are the people who think "obviously our growth ... will likely come from the digital arena." Visionaries, they are not.

  2. I would bet they are going to be the same, garden variety regime shills that have always written for the Post.

  3. In light of the popular backlash against TSA, NSA, DHS and Police State etc. He should have a section devoted to civil liberties and domestic tranquility. He should hire Will Grigg, Becky Akers, Naomi Wolf, Wm Binney, a cyber tech privacy advocate and other assorted voices. If he did that, sales and viewership would go through the roof. These are ALL non-partisan issues as well. Jacob Applebaum could write a guest editorial. He could even print Op Eds from Snowden, Angela Merkel, the Brazilian head of State and assorted world leaders who have been spied upon. Maybe even invite KimDotcom to write a piece on his plans for a 100% user-friendly darkweb to eclipse the current internet by providing 100% privacy through encryption technology rather than waiting for untrustworthy political reform.

    Go get 'em Jeff! Be bold and the people will be behind you.

  4. I wish WaPo would give Jerry Wolfgang his own op-ed column. That would be line the birdcage.