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Jeff Bezos is taking an increasingly active role in WaPo’s operations: NYT

Jeff Bezos is taking an increasingly active role in WaPo’s operations: NYT

Jeff Bezos.
AP Photo/Patrick Simanski, File

  • The New York Times said Jeff Bezos is taking an increasingly active role in operations at The Post.
  • The Amazon founder and former CEO made an unusual visit to the newsroom earlier this year.
  • Bezos has sought to make The Post an international powerhouse and has encouraged digital experimentation.

Former Amazon CEO and chairman Jeff Bezos has become increasingly involved in the operations of The Washington Post, the venerable newspaper he bought for $250 million a decade ago. According to The New York Times.

In years past, Bezos’ representatives kept a close eye on the budget, but Bezos has recently taken a more proactive approach as publishing has faced economic headwinds and domestic opposition.

By early 2021, The Post boasted 3 million digital subscribers, fueled by the Trump administration’s rapid news cycles, and had more than 1,000 employees — up from about 580 before Bezos’ investment in the paper.

But digital subscriptions are now at 2.5 million, and the paper has stumbled on increasing that number, according to The Times.

The Times report indicated that The Post was set to lose $100 million this year, according to two people familiar with The Post’s financial situation who spoke to the paper. Two other people told The Times that The Post was expected to miss advertising revenue estimates for the year.

Patti Stauncifer, interim CEO, told The Post that Bezos was pleased with “every dollar invested” in the company. A person familiar with Bezos’ vision told the newspaper that 2023 would be the “year of investment” for the newspaper.

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“I am very excited about what we can do here at The Washington Post in the next decade,” Stauncifer said in a statement. “Jeff’s second decade of ownership of the paper should be even more exciting.”

When Bezos bought The Post in 2013, it was the end of an era for the paper, which had been run for generations by the Graham family, whose leadership catapulted the newspaper to gigantic heights through its coverage of the Watergate and Pentagon papers.

Bezos encouraged digital experimentation when he first bought the newspaper, and sought to make The Post an international powerhouse.

After Bezos’ initial purchase of The Post, his influence was less visible in the newsroom, according to two people who spoke to The Times.

But as morale plummeted, editor Sally Buzby — whom Bezos helped pick as a successor to veteran editor Marty Barron — reached out to the Amazon founder to discuss the issue.

In January, Bezos made an unusual visit to the newsroom, attending a morning meeting and later meeting several reporters at the paper. The reporters reportedly spoke with Bezos about some of the larger issues in the newsroom with Fred Ryan — the paper’s publisher — who in June announce He will step down later in the summer.

Bezos has continued to look ahead as he seeks to put his stamp on the paper’s vision. He’s considering a pilot project for the opinion section, and an overhaul of the paper’s style section is expected later in the year, according to The Times.

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Sally Quinn, a veteran newspaper reporter and widow of Postal legend Ben Bradley, told The Times she had renewed optimism for the newsroom.

“There is a sense of hope that we haven’t had in a long time,” she said.