While Bezos may not interfere with editorial, it is within his role as owner to see the paper to profitability. If Bezos thinks paywalls are misguided, we may see the Washington Post drop theirs.Meanwhile, over at the NYT, where they're struggling to adapt to the web, there's this huge and immediately obsolete "Fashion & Style" piece from last Sunday — "The Next Edition: Katharine Weymouth Takes Charge at the Washington Post" — which is full of fashion inanity like this:
Bezos did not think Kindle was the salvation of papers, since “the problem is that many readers still prefer the printed version.”...
Interestingly enough, Bezos says “We [Amazon] realized that people are willing to pay for newspaper subscriptions on tablets. In the near future, every household will have multiple tablets. That’s going to be the default and will provide momentum for newspapers, too,” so we may see some creative subscription models on the Kindle or bundled with other products.
Ms. Weymouth’s penchant for showing off her athletic figure — she arrived for a photo shoot in a crisp white sleeveless sheath and four-inch lime green Jimmy Choos — provokes titters in the newsroom. Then again, she works hard for it; [Molly Elkin, Ms. Weymouth’s best friend] said the two spend Sunday mornings doing free weights and “boy push-ups” with a personal trainer.But has some decent foreshadowing of what was about to happen:
Quick-witted and no-nonsense, Ms. Weymouth is more like her steely grandmother than her famously demanding and mercurial mother. But since becoming publisher in February 2008, she has had a rocky ride; she has already hired her second editor, and critics lament that she is presiding over a newspaper in retreat.The NYT article on the Bezos deal — "A Mogul Gets a Landmark in the Capital" — doesn't mention Weymouth.
Mr. Bezos has indulged his passion for space by financing the recovery from the seabed of an Apollo rocket that carried the first men to the moon. He is paying for creation of a clock buried in a mountain in West Texas that will tick once a year for the next 10,000 years. And now, Mr. Bezos — a man known for being an unsentimental businessman — has invested squarely in a sentimental business steeped in tradition....
“It’s an old boring story — rich man buys a newspaper — but in this instance it’s one of the richest men ever buying one of the most important newspapers ever, which is the one our government leaders read first thing every morning,” said Dennis Johnson, the co-founder of Melville House, a well-regarded small publisher. “This is the capper in the development of one of the most powerful vertical monopolies in our history, which is also one of the most controlling in matters of cultural concern.”