Lots of folks are weighing in on Jeff Bezos (Amazon’s founder and 25Bn rich guy) buying the Washington Post. I’m reading the comments on the Washington Post feed–fascinating.
There seems to a sense of dawning of a new day of journalism in a lot of the comments. Almost a sense of relief that maybe there is hope for journalism yet. That if anyone can see how to make journalism work in a time of social network, crowd-sourced news and nano news, it is someone like Jeff Bezos.
I like this comment from Matthew Ingram of GigaOm: “The next few years could be a fascinating time to be in the newspaper business, if only to watch someone like Bezos remake it from the inside out.”
And of course there are the skeptics who ask what any tech guy, no matter how smart, might know about real journalism.
If it indeed does happen as many expect that Bezos will take a creative new approach emphasizing high volume, low margins, attracting lots of customers without as much regard for margin as typical (he more or less invented the attract a crowd and figure out how to get them to pay later model), if indeed he Amazonizes the Post and from that the news business, then this day will be seen as momentous in journalism history. I somewhat suspect he will. But, my guess, unlike many of those so dedicated to “journalism” as in “traditional journalism done only by professionals” is that he will find a way to harness the power of crowd sourcing. No doubt there will continue to be those who can make a living providing other people the information they are looking for. Some may even be considered and called journalists. But the future of news is harnessing and leveraging the vast information sharing that is going on right now and that will only continue.
How Bezos will make that a profitable venture in the very heart of traditional journalism will be fascinating to watch. Over course, I could be completely wrong. Maybe he’s tired of revolutionizing the world. Maybe he just thought: Hmmm, I got an extra $250 million burning a hole in my pocket. Should I buy a sports team like my buddy Howard Shulz–hmm, that didn’t turn out so well. How about a newspaper? Yeah! In Washington DC! Yeah!