Amazon.com Billionaire's Purchase of Washington Post: Boosting Influence and "Monetizing" Journalism?

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Posted Aug. 14, 2013

Interview with Peter Hart, activism director with the media watch group FAIR, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, conducted by Scott Harris

bezos

The Aug. 5 announcement that Amazon.com CEO and founder Jeff Bezos would purchase the Washington Post newspaper for $250 million, was a shock to many reporters and editors at the newspaper, and to many working in the media industry across the country. The family owned-newspaper, known best for breaking stories about the Nixon-era Watergate scandal by investigative reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, has seen a 37 percent drop in readership over the past 10 years, severe reductions in its newsroom staff and the closure of several news bureaus.

The purchase of the Washington Post came on the heels of the sale of another iconic newspaper, The Boston Globe – owned by The New York times – to multi-millionaire Red Sox baseball team owner John W. Henry for $70 million.

As in all purchases of influential media outlets, there are questions about where billionaire Jeff Bezos will take the 136-year-old Washington Post. Will Bezos’ Amazon.com business agenda create conflicts of interest for the newspaper? Some observers hope that Bezos’ deep pockets will revive the newspaper, and once again allocate funding to in-depth and investigative reporting. Others predict that the man who revolutionized the digital marketplace at Amazon will strive to dramatically transform the nation’s newspaper industry. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Peter Hart, activism director with the media-watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. Here he examines the possible fallout from Bezos’ acquisition of The Washington Post and changes ahead for U.S. media companies.

For more information on Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, visit FAIR.org.

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