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Jeff Bezos, The Washington Post, And The Future Of Newspapers

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos buys The Washington Post. We look at the future of newspapers as they merge with the digital world.

In this Monday, Aug. 5, 2013, photo, The Washington Post for Kindle application is displayed for purchase on an Amazon Kindle in New York. (AP)

In this Monday, Aug. 5, 2013, photo, The Washington Post for Kindle application is displayed for purchase on an Amazon Kindle in New York. (AP)

It was a bolt from the blue this month when Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said he would buy the Washington Post.  A premier, flagship, storied news franchise, snapped up by a dot-com mogul who made his billions crushing book stores and selling everything online.

Newspapers have been up against it for years now.  Struggling to find their way to revenues in the digital era.  Now, a digital mogul has come to newspapers.  As owner.  Boss.

This hour, On Point:  Jeff Bezos and the future of newspapers as they merge with the digital world.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

John Harris, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Politico.

Chris Hughes, purchased The New Republic in 2012, now publisher and editor-in-chief. Co-founder and former spokesman for Facebook. (@chrishughes)

Bill Keller, op-ed columnist for The New York Times, and former executive editor of The New York Times from 2003-2011. (@nytkeller)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Los Angeles Times: Is Jeff Bezos journalism’s savior or just another bean counter? — “Many have wondered if journalism as we have known it has any future. Metro newspapers have faced a calamitous drop in revenue in the last decade as advertisers have rushed to the Internet like passengers mobbing lifeboats on the Titanic. Ironically, in an age when the public is gorging on information like never before, the most respected purveyors of reliable information — newspapers — have become endangered enterprises.”

The New York Times: Expecting the Unexpected From Jeff Bezos — “No one, apparently including Mr. Bezos himself, seems to know what he intends to do with that fabled newspaper. This is, after all, a man who once said the quality he most wanted in a wife was the ability to spring him from a third-world prison. He can probably be counted on to think unpredictably.”

Variety: Future of Print Journalism? Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post Purchase Spurs Questions — “Yet the lingering fear is that while journalists dream of finding a Bruce Wayne — or in the case of the Los Angeles Times, an Eli Broad or David Geffen — they might wind up under the thumb of a Lex Luthor or some Bondian villain, eager to use these shiny new toys to pursue nefarious goals and world domination.”

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