We were keeping track of the number of stories about WaPo’s sale to Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, but lost count somewhere around 17 billion. Is it safe yet to call a state-of-emergency over the level of journalistically-induced hysteria this has caused? If we don’t reach the peak coverage soon, This Town might just implode in on itself.
Here are a few of the latest pieces:
Tim Carmondy, for Neiman Lab: Talk about some foresight, Carmody is already looking to Bezos’ death in this piece: “The Washington Post offers Bezos the chance to reinvent a newspaper during turbulent times, and in the process leave something to his family beyond Amazon.” Because the $25 billion he was already leaving them wasn’t enough?
WaPo’s Chris Cillizza and Paul Kane: Yesterday Cillizza published what he said were real emails between himself and Kane, though they’ve been edited for grammar. Side Note: if this is how they generally email, maybe they’re doing it wrong? It seems so… staged? Can we please have some filthy cussing in the next series? Anyway, Cillizza makes at least one good point: “Local newspapers were struggling long before the Bezoses of the world decided to get into the journalism industry.” And Kane: “…if this experiment ends well, does it mean the ‘Benevolent Billionaire’ is the only path to success for newspapers and their successors?” If the answer is yes, then that is bad, bad news folks.
Washington City Paper: This week’s issue is all WaPo, all the time. This, after WCP editor Mike Madden said on Twitter the day the sale was announced, “Just had a weird experience being interviewed by a Post reporter about the sale; neither of us really seem to know What It All Means.” Guess that’s changed (and kudos for use of a semicolon in a tweet). The best piece is Jonathan L. Fischer’s “Post ‘Scripts: Advice—Lots of Advice—for Jeff Bezos,” which rounds up opinions of “various journo types, from public radio hosts to media empire queens” in one nice little package. “Normally we’d advise the owner to stay the hell out of editorial operations. Now we ask Bezos to ignore that advice so he can follow all this advice on how to meddle most effectively,” Fischer says.
Also a topic of legitimate conversation for media types is Lucy Dalglish’s piece on WaPo‘s commitment to open government and whether that was included in the sale. “Digital innovators like Bezos have not been afraid to pick legal fights, particularly when it comes to their intellectual property. But most have focused on the bottom line, not the public’s right to know.” Dalglish is the former head of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, so she has some insight.