Stephen B. Shepard

WashPost Sold!!

Wash Post: I was Almost Right

August 12, 2013

Tags: Washington Post, Future of Journalism. "Deadlines and Disruption"

Good call, but no cigar. In my book, Deadlines and Disruption, published in September 2012, I speculated that tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon might buy a traditional media company -- “perhaps,” I wrote, “ Facebook snapping up the Washington Post.”

I had the trend right, but not the buyer. I thought Facebook was a more likely buyer than Amazon because Post Chairman Don Graham had a strong relationship with Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg. Instead, the Post went to Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos

I think Don Graham did the right thing, the honorable thing, for the paper he loved so deeply. He realized the Post didn’t have the resources or even fresh ideas for the digital age, so he found a buyer he thought had both. If they are to have any future at all, traditional media companies have to learn to target content and advertising to individuals based on their personal and professional interests, their demographic profiles, or their geographic location. And who is better than Jeff Bezos at serving customers based on their specific interests?

Here’s hoping he’ll succeed.

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