There has been a lot of nervous chatter in the nation’s capital since shortly after Paul Farhi’s article about the sale of the Washington Post appeared around 4:30pm on Monday, August 5. That this momentous development was kept a secret stunned many people who thrive on such information. How could something so significant to the chattering class remain out of their reach until Farhi’s article was pushed through the digital pipe?
I’m wondering what changes are going to take place over the course of the next year or two. I’m hopeful that Jeff Bezos will lead the news organization, and indeed, the news industry, to more stable ground and a vibrant future. Whether you agree or disagree with the reporting and commentary in the Post, the last thing we need is another news enterprise going dark. While that was a remote possibility for the paper according to Donald Graham and Katherine Weymouth, it is for too many news outlets.
If Bezos can create for the Washington Post what he has created in Amazon.com, the newspaper will be a success. And that means it will instigate discussion about issues, local to international, and serve as a platform where people can provide their point-of-view.
Bezos will certainly bring new thinking to the news world and that is needed. The current media strategists have been trying to figure out how to make the news business work but they seem to lack the proper perspective. While Bezos has a record of maintaining a long-term vision he will likely accelerate the pace of change at the Post. And that will expedite the opportunity for creating a thriving forum for news and showing the rest of the industry the path forward.
Ogilvy Washington 2014 Holiday Card