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Amazon owner Jeff Bezos buys Washington Post for $250 million

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 5th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

After more than 80 years in business, the Washington Post newspaper has been bought for $250 million by Internet retail giant Amazon. The purchase by Amazon owner Jeff Bezos has sent shockwaves around the media world. Among those the most surprised are Washington Post staff members, who were completely about the sale until just recently.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "This is a day that my family and I never expected to come. The Washington Post Company is selling the newspaper it has owned and nurtured for eight decades," publisher and CEO Katharine Weymouth said in a letter to staff.

"The buyer is one of America's great innovators and most respected business leaders, Jeff Bezos, chief executive officer and founder of Amazon.com," she wrote. "Jeff is making this acquisition in his personal capacity and not as part of Amazon."

The purchase includes The Washington Post and other publishing businesses, including the Express newspaper, The Gazette Newspapers, Southern Maryland Newspapers, Fairfax County Times, El Tiempo Latino and Greater Washington Publishing.

In an attempt to make a smooth transition, Bezos assures Washington Post members that his new ownership wouldn't bring radical change to the paper's core values. Bezos did say that the Post would need to "invent" and "experiment" to keep pace with the transformations in digital journalism.

"The values of The Post do not need changing," he wrote. "The paper's duty will remain to its readers and not to the private interests of its owners. We will continue to follow the truth wherever it leads, and we'll work hard not to make mistakes. When we do, we will own up to them quickly and completely."

Bezos announced has asked Weymouth, president and general manager Stephen P. Hills, executive editor Martin Baron, and editorial page editor Fred Hiatt to continue in their current roles.

"There will of course be change at The Post over the coming years," Bezos added. "That's essential and would have happened with or without new ownership. The Internet is transforming almost every element of the news business: shortening news cycles, eroding long-reliable revenue sources, and enabling new kinds of competition, some of which bear little or no news-gathering costs. There is no map, and charting a path ahead will not be easy. We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment."

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