Jeff Bezos, The Post and the Future of Print

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Aug. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Adam Johnson reports on the sale of the Washington Post to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Johnson speaks on Bloomberg Television's "Lunch Money". (Source: Bloomberg)

Warren buffett, as then sell, and jeff bezos, all have an interesting hobby going on.

We are talking about newspapers.

The headline was all over the newspapers as does the web.

Jeff bezos is buying the "washington post." he is paying $250 million for the paper.

What is he going to do with it?

In a statement, he said this -- if future in which he says, curiously, print is dead.

He said 20 years ago that this bill all the paper.

My guess is that paper disappears fast.

It correct that is one take on the deal.

Here are more.

What is journalism?

It comes down to one simple question, quantity, or is it quality?

Correct these needy -- these media companies have almost become like sports teams, almost hobbies rather than enterprises.

I hope that he realizes that you can be a lot more efficient and serve people with greater relevance and be profitable, but a lot smaller.

I do not think that we will call them papers, that is for sure.

We will think of them as media brands.

I think what he brings -- i think what he brings is a deep pocket book.

You have one of the greatest minds in media, jeff bezos, taking on the question of what the future is of journalism.

Let's talk to someone who once ran one of the largest newspaper publishers in the country.

The newspaper industry has not done a very good job of figuring out what to do on the web.

We started career builder and we did things, but nobody has really figured out a very successful formula.

I think "the new york times" is doing a good job now with their app on top let's. -- tablets.

But he comes at it from such a different place.

Maybe he can come up with something that nobody else in the newspaper industry has been able to figure out.

Let's bring it back to the billionaires' club.

Warren buffett has been in the newspaper business for years.

And he has been scooping up smaller community newspapers.

Berkshire hathaway actually owns more than one quarter of the "washington post." he will lose that stake in the bezos deal.

Then there is the boston red sox owner, a hedge fund billionaire who made his money in commodities.

He is buying the boston globe for $7 million.

That deal is expected to close in the next several months.

And then finally, the chicago tribune owner.

One of the issues he faces is the editorial direction of the paper.

Betty liu spoke to him about the involvement of the coke brothers in operations.

A -- koch brothers in operations.

The newspaper industry only presents one side of the political spectrum.

It would be terrific if the other side was equally represented.

I think that the koch brothers would get involved on the editorial side, which i as an investor had no political issues and chose not to be involved.

Two of the smartest people in new media at that down trying to figure out the direction that bezos is going.

Correct we news tend to think we are in the content manufacturing business stocks -- we in news tend to think that we're in the contract manufacturing business.

But really, it is a service.

It needs to be individual.

My newspaper does not know who i am ended barely knows where i live.

Jeff bezos's key skill is not selling content, but building relationships with individuals to add higher relevant and higher value.

You have been the art critic in the whole process, talking about less editing and more immediacy.

The "washington post" has one of the legendary stories with 10 or 12 letters on one story.

But -- where well editress be in this?

Able still be there, but it will be a luxury -- they will still be there, but they will be a luxury.

I'm an admirer of what henry does.

It is a digital business.

I'm not suggesting that bezos is going to turn the public washington post" into the business insider.

But i hope that will bring some fresh perspective to how we do what we do.

If you make a good point of synergy between e-commerce and making a newspaper more on line and a mobile experience.

Yes, you raise an important thing about e-commerce.

One thing that most of the newspapers that i work with what to do is to get closer to local transactions.

Nobody understands that better than amazon.

This was a purchase by bezos, not by amazon.

But amazon compete with merchants . we will see if there is a culture shift.

Do not hang up.

We have jeff jarvis . and we have paul kedrosky.

He knows and bezos's best practices with the customer.

Paul, thank you for getting up early to join us.

It jeff bezos steve himself as a destructor of merchants around the world.

Will he change and what will he want to keep the same at the "washington post"? act fast.

I mean, jeff -- access . i mean, jack has talked about this of bed.

Indeed he about the early days of amazon being the bookseller of the world.

It is not just about the distribution of news, but events that touch on the news.

Itthere are other ways of touching the people that already have relationships with you.

I think you will see a lot more of that kind of thing.

Which probably means that henry qlogic had his ticket punched.

Is there any reason to fear that journalists will turn into salesman?

I don't think so, because they will be crap salespeople.

You'll have people brought in to run an entire side of the business.

The journalists will become lead dogs and all of this, but it is not about trying to turn journalists into salespeople and corporate managers.

Jeff jarvis, we have seen the glove taken out by john henry, and now the post,. can you have both regional and national platforms at one of five form?

The fight in the past decade and a half-over whether it is digital -- is over whether it is digital or print.

The old management of the post still believed it was paper- based, locally-based advertisement.

There were still doing ads about the wonders of print.

On the other hand, the boston globe, philadelphia, the only thing that is.

To buy them is a company like digital media first that can bring economies to scale.

Or two, but rupert murdoch.

My hope is that bezos is not merely performing an act to philanthropy, but that he will perform.

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