Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Monday, August 12, 2013 6:16 pm

Quote of the day, newspaper-industry edition:


Charlie Pierce:

Nobody, I assure you, knows anything. They’re just bailing like hell, and people like [Washington Post buyer Jeff] Bezos and [Boston Globe buyer John] Henry are the newest, shiniest buckets.

In the case of the Post, I suppose it’s possible that Bezos will bring Amazon.com’s customer-service technical know-how to the business side in salutary ways. But the content side has problems you don’t have to be a technology entrepreneur to see: It’s too focused on the horse race at the expense of policy coverage, it’s too focused on inside-the-Beltway middle-school cat fights at the expense of the kind of policy reporting a national newspaper ought to strive to provide, and its op-ed page is, with a few honorable exceptions, staffed with hacks who are either flat wrong or else clinging to a world view that went out of style the day after the Berlin Wall fell. His best hope is to turn the Post into an online-first operation and then look for ways to phase out or kill the print edition, and even he seems in no hurry to do that.

As for Henry, it’s hard to see what he gets out of this besides (even more of) a megaphone for his Boston Red Sox. He’s paying 5% of what the New York Times paid for the Globe 20 years ago and no matter what he does, he’ll be lucky to sell at a profit in his remaining lifetime.

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2 Comments

  1. Though it’s Bezos and not Amazon purchasing the Post, I wonder if there’s some opportunity for synergy. For all the problems the Post has editorially (its coverage of the suburbs that include millions of potential readers is laughable), it has the same issue every newspaper have — advertisers just aren’t buying. And the classified ad base is virtually gone.

    Of course, my blog has been in the Amazon Affiliate program for more than two years, and I think I’ve sold nothing but maybe five copies of my old book and some MP3s.

    Comment by Beau — Monday, August 12, 2013 6:39 pm @ 6:39 pm

  2. Color me deeply skeptical, but if there’s a reason at all for Bezos to buy the Post, it’s the reason we both identify: a chance to apply Amazon.com technology to the Post’s business side and get some synergy somehow, someway

    Comment by Lex — Monday, August 12, 2013 6:55 pm @ 6:55 pm


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