Founded in 1877, The Washington Post has a long history, and some of its ideas may well date back to that time. When the internet came along, it was very slow to adapt, although it does now have an online component, Bezos thinks he can change around its fortunes. Sometimes, all it takes are a new point of view and some radical ideas to be taken on, to effect a positive change. The ideas will probably only be radical to the newspaper industry, but not to Amazon, where they are the guiding light for the company.
Three big ideas are the reason Amazon is successful, Bezos said.
- Put the customer first
- Be patient
– Washington Post story [Jeffrey Bezos, Washington Post’s next owner, aims for a new ‘golden era’ at the newspaper]
Applying these ideas to the Washington Post will take time, but according to Bezos’ philosophy, he has patience, so it could be successful. The key to that, according to a story in the Post, is that he will provide “financial support over a lengthy period in which the management can experiment to find a profitable formula for delivering the news.”
On Tuesday, Bezos was in Washington DC, where he met the editorial board. At that time, the editorial page editor, Fred Hiatt, said it was too early to tell if Bezos would want to impress his thought on the editorial section. “I got the sense that he’s still in exploring mode.” But by Thursday, Bezos had said he was not likely to get involved in the content.
Bezos said he doesn’t think people will pay for a story online. This should mean no paywall for The Washington Post. What does interest him is news on tablets, as he returned to that thought more than once. He said it was up to the staff to come up with the ideas on how to make that work.
It should be an exciting time for The Washington Post, good for them internally and good for outsiders watching with interest.