Carl Bernstein: Jeff Bezos Can Pull This Off

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Aug. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Journalist and Author Carl Bernstein discusses the purchase of the Washington Post by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos with Erik Schatzker on Bloomberg Television's "Market Makers." (Source: Bloomberg)

Talk to us a bit about your optimism.

How do you think the post might thrive under the ownership of jeff bezos, who is a consumer of media but anything but an insider?

In the newspaper and information business, particularly reporting, we have been looking for an economic model that will fund the kind of reporting that represents the best of injuring reportorial values, meeting the ability to report the best obtaining a -- best obtainable version of the truth.

It has eluded us at the "washington post" and the business of reporting generally.

Part of what is required is a commitment by someone who understands all of the possibilities of the digital age to use this great new platform and combine it with the injuring reportorial values we all want to see a renaissance of.

If anybody can pull this off, i think it is jeff bezos.

One of the things you see at amazon is his willingness to invest and wait for the product to perfect itself, to work, to go through the various iterations that a real inventor and innovative entrepreneur understands, takes time and commitment and it's not all going to go exactly like you planned, but someone like jeff bezos is buying this newspaper because he understands there is going to be a marriage of the technology and the greatest of reportorial values.

If the "washington post" is where he wants to do this, is the ideal institution.

It's a great institution with a record of public service, a record of reporting, a record of getting the best obtainable version of the truth, which is what reporting is all about, and i think someone like jeff bezos and his track record and innovation is the right way to go about it.

Let me jump in for one second.

Even though you seem to be a proponent of jeff bezos and what he can do, he's very different than the graham family.

What can we expect as far as a cultural change at the post and how that might affect their ability to keep its brand?

I have no crystal ball.

I think his eloquent statement to the employees indicates his understanding of the need to preserve the best of the post's values while bringing to his ownership the new sensibility that involves what he is great at, which is technology and using it in the service of wonderful things.

That's what we are hoping will happen at the washington post.

I sent him a note immediately and said this is going to involve a lot of heavy lifting, but nonetheless, i believe he is committed to preserving the great values of the washington post, and if he is able to do this, it will be of great benefit to news organizations all over the country because we need a new economic model that works so that we -- we are not covering the world today the way we need to.

There are too many stories out there not being covered and if we can get the right platform and the right economic model, then we can start getting back on track.

Didn't jeff bezos right back to you?

I did not hear back but i have an indication of about to hear back and i will leave it at that.

We would love to hear what he has to say when he gets back to you.

The commitment to quality journalism -- do you believe that would have been impossible under the continuing ownership of the graham family and the leadership of catherine weymouth question mark i think the commitment is there and if you look at the great reporting the washington post has done in the last couple of years, even under its reduced circumstances, it is there.

We are talking about scale and an institution that has been losing money.

The post has cut back on its bureaus and reporting and at the same time, next to the new york times, it continues to break more great stories even under its reduced circumstances than any journalistic institution out there.

That commitment has remained, but the reason for the sale is it's losing money.

I'm getting confused.

You are right, the post is losing money, but jeff bezos -- what is it he is going to do?

What magic wand is he going to wave such that the post makes money?

Those are the conditions you are describing that seem to need to be president for the commitment to be embraced and extended into the future.

First of all, i don't know what he intends and i'm not sure he knows what he intends.

This is annexed era meant.

But what we have seen that amazon is a willingness to fund a vision before the money is in hand in terms of profit, to stick with it, and to understand the basic vision of what he's trying to do.

That is why i'm optimistic.

I can't imagine he's gone into this thing to try and further reduce the reportorial footprint of the washington post.

That would seem to me, to put it

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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