10:13pm August 5, 2013

Old Media’s Long Goodbye: Washington Post Sold to Jeff Bezos, Boston Globe Sold for $70M


tweet of the moment: @davidplotz: No, Slate was not sold to Jeff Bezos. We’re still happily at the WP company. Tho not sure what our parent company’s name is.

The Washington Post lost $34 million last quarter. Can Jeff Bezos turn old media around?  The Washington Post has been dying a slow death over the last decade — ever since the internet re-invented the way people received and reported news. With today’s announcement that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will buy the Washington Post, we see that the sinking ship of old media continues to sink hard and fast.  Just last week the Boston Globe was sold for $70 million and Newsweek was off-loaded to the International Business Times.

The sale of the Post to Bezos doesn’t include Slate, The Root or Foreign Affairs magazine.

With high overheads, tons of staff, vast offices and other encumbrances in an age of tele-commuting, it’s clear the Washington Post was top-heavy with old ideas once successfully built up by money.   Though the Post plans to launch an online TV channel this month, it’s unclear how much revenue it will create. Other than Kaplan, the Post had few valuable revenue streams.    

That the Graham family, who’ve owned the Washington Post for four generations, could not keep the Post speaks volumes on the state of old media.  In many cases the slow demise of old media brands was linked to old school management who didn’t adjust quickly enough to changing technology.

Jeff Bezos’s net worth is $25 billion and he’s purchasing the Washington Post for $250 million — less than 1% of his fortune, Post writer Ezra Klein wrote today.  The Washington Post may in fact be very lucky to have found a tech saavy owner.  What that owner will do now to turn around a dying breed is unknown.  The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune are also up for sale as well.

About the Author

Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke is an opinion journalist, comms expert and political analyst focused on justice reform policy. She created Crewof42.com, a blog that covers the work of Black members of Congress, in 2009. Ms. Burke was a staffer for the Senate Democratic Policy Committee and Director of Communications for Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN). She has had a very diverse career in politics and media and appears regularly on NewsOneNow with Roland Martin, Hardball and Up on MSNBC, WVON in Chicago, WURD in Philadelphia and WOL and WHUR in Washington, D.C. She is currently the Managing Editor of Politic365 and a contributing writer for TheRoot and NBC Black where she writes opinion and analysis. Additionally, Ms. Burke has been a contract photographer for Associated Press since 2004. She has authored three books of photography including two on President Obama's 2008 campaign for the presidency and one with Marvel Comics publisher Stan Lee. Ms. Burke was born in the Bronx, New York and grew up on Long Island. She holds a B.A. in History from The American University. Here e-mail is: LBurke007@gmail.com. Twitter: @LVBurke. Instagram: LVB325.



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One Comment

  1. [...] The Washington Post has been dying a slow death over the last decade — ever since the Internet… Print newspaper ad revenues fell 55 percent between 2007 and 2012, according to the Newspaper Association of America, as advertisers and readers have defected to the Web. Some newspapers have been forced to slash costs and in some cases file for bankruptcy. The sale comes against the backdrop of the digital revolution, which has transformed the way people consume news and profoundly disrupted the newspaper business. In taking ownership of the Post, the Internet billionaire merely completes his transformation from ecommerce pasha to media mogul — a transformation that’s been taking place before our eyes for years. [...]

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