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So Much for Serendipity in Personalized News

Aug. 12 (Bloomberg) -- The Graham family’s sale of the Washington Post to Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos has prompted intense discussion of the future of journalism. That discussion has yet to focus on a remarkable feature of the Post and other old-fashioned newspapers: They provide people with a great deal of content that they wouldn’t have chosen in advance.

Newspapers create what we might call an architecture of serendipity, in which readers encounter all sorts of stories, facts, ideas and opinions that they didn’t select. Much of what they encounter seems boring, irritating, wrong or offensive, but on occasion it turns out to be surprising, delightful, alarming, important and even life-changing.