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Jeff Bezos

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Amazon's Bezos seeks new 'golden era' at Washington Post

  • Article by: Washington Post
  • September 4, 2013 - 11:00 PM

Jeff Bezos had a simple bit of advice for the staff of the newspaper he’ll soon own: Put readers, not advertisers, first. Don’t write to impress each other. And above all, “Don’t be boring.”

In a whirlwind series of meetings over two days, the Amazon.com billionaire charmed and disarmed rooms full of skeptical journalists with a relentlessly upbeat vision that evoked the Washington Post’s best traditions while promising to update them for a technologically advanced new era.

The Bezos plan for the news organization he has agreed to buy for $250 million centers on re-creating the “daily ritual” of reading The Post as a bundle, not merely a series of individual stories. He was bullish about creating that experience on tablet computers, lukewarm about the prospects of doing so on the Web, and reassuring about the future of the old-fashioned newspaper itself — at least for the foreseeable future.

“People will buy a package,” Bezos said at one meeting of reporters and editors. “They will not pay for a story.”

Bezos seemed relaxed throughout two days of meetings, including a town-hall-style session in the Post’s community room before hundreds of journalists, including former executive editors Ben Bradlee and Leonard Downie Jr., former managing editor Robert Kaiser and noted journalist Bob Woodward.

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