Forgive me but all of the controversy around Jeff Bezos riding up on his white steed to save the Washington Post has me laughing... not at Jeff, mind you, but countless others who think they know better than a man whose grown his net worth to $25.2 billion from zero. Even amongst the talking heads in his own clan at the Post, the opinions of some lend to the idiocy which has helped the demise of this newspaper and organization along.
In my opinion, I hardly think that Jeff Bezos has claimed himself to be fully versed in the news industry. That said, he can say that he is a hell of an entrepreneur. He also knows that with every great entrepreneurial success, investment, or "save" comes a percentage of stupidity underscored by gut instinct and passion. Jeff Bezos has proven that he's rather adept at combining the three and coming up stronger than most.
His intelligent approach in giving the many journalists who currently write for the Post carte blanche in what they choose to write underscored by the safety of a large check book should be looked at as a gift. If it were me, I'd follow his suggestion (and lead) and write about topics I was incredibly passionate about, giving the Post articles that would jump off the page and capture the reader while providing the marketing department quality work that they can sink their own teeth into and sell. Yet, in reading some of the Washington Post bloggers today -- who had the audacity and idiocy to jot down their own thoughts as to how much Jeff Bezos doesn't know about the news industry -- all I can say is, "Cut the cancer out before it grows, Jeff, then bring in stupid individuals like yourself to breathe new life (and humor) into this newspaper and organization while airing the current Washington Post team out so that they learn to laugh again and bring that new attitude back to their desks where it will do some good." The current self-important attitude has to go and the only way to do it is to inject a bit of stupid into the mix in the form of those who, like yourself, believe that mountains can be moved and then get to accomplishing that task to the benefit of all...even the idiots.
One of the most obvious problems the newspaper industry is facing is that it continues to be run by news people who possess one idea of what this industry actually is and how it should be run. Well, these so-called experts are running this industry into the ground and without the Jeff Bezos' of the world, they will do it successfully. Jeff Bezos is dealing with what every turnaround situation presents -- the need for a change in the culture of the organization, targeting the hooks and opportunities to market well, and delivering a great product that fills a currently unmet need. And in the case of news, there is an entertainment element that needs to be understood and addressed.
Truth be told, there are countless ways news organizations can drive readership and obtain revenue. Given a bit of entrepreneurial ingenuity, intelligence and chutzpah, some of those changes could be made rather quickly and the benefits realized just as quickly, marking the beginning of a positive direction and growth. The problem is the news industry is too close to itself to see the opportunities available to them. They are also entrenched in fear, which drastically works against them as it holds them hostage and makes them ineffective.
As Jeff Bezos has expanded his kingdom and surrounded this new expansion with money, I'm looking forward to observing the direction the Washington Post takes. It's an interesting time for them. I just hope that this group is better at listening now than they have been at writing in the past.
Time will ultimately tell, now won't it.
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