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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is buying one of the top U.S. newspapers. The Washington Post announced Monday that Bezos is buying the paper and its affiliated publications for $250 million.
Known for breaking major stories - it’s been an icon of print journalism for decades. But faced with declining circulation and a sharp drop in operating revenue, Washington Post Chairman Donald Graham told employees - the paper stood a better chance with a new owner.
“We knew we could keep the Post alive, we knew it could survive. But our aspirations for the Post have always been higher than that," said Graham.
Newspapers have been losing readership and advertising revenue to on-line rivals.
“I’ve been a subscriber before but I don’t really subscribe to anything anymore. I read everything online," said woman.
Enter Internet pioneer and Amazon founder Jeffery Bezos - the world’s 11th richest man - with an offer to buy the Post for a quarter of a billion dollars.
Some call it a smart move by Bezos - and a timely one for the Washington Post.
Author and media studies professor Paul Levinson says it was time for the newspaper to dive into the digital age. He spoke to VOA via Skype.
“Because the future of newspapers is online. This doesn’t mean that print newspapers will go out of existence, as a matter of fact, the best chance that printed newspapers have to continue is if they have a vibrant, active, growing, online presence and that’s what Amazon can do for Washington Post," said Levinson.
After decades of Graham family ownership, Bezos assured the family and Post employees that the paper's mission and character would not change - promising to leave operations to the paper’s managers.
Chris Tolles, the CEO of Topix - an online news community that reaches millions - says the Post is an important voice in the news business and U.S. politics. He spoke to VOA on Skype.
“I think it’s one of the top three or four big newspapers in the United States and its editorial pages carry weight; they’re read by presidents and Congress and their families," said Tolles.
The Post earned its strong reputation by breaking stories such as the Watergate scandal, the Pentagon papers and more recently, disclosures about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.