Jeff Bezos offers more clues on how he’ll run the Post

The Amazon CEO outlines his role as the paper's new owner, saying, “I’ll be there with advice from a distance"

Topics: Jeff Bezos, amazon, Washington Post, newspapers, Internet, Publishing, , ,

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who quietly bought the Washington Post for $250 million last month, has spoken to the media about the sale for the first time since the announcement of the deal. Bezos worried Post readers in August when he called his first newspaper purchase an “experiment,” revealing next to nothing about his intentions. But in a phone interview with the Post on Friday, Bezos expanded on that comment, revealing that he intends to have a more hands-off approach. The Washington Post reports:

Bezos said his major contribution to the business will be in offering his “point of view” in discussions with the paper’s leadership about how the publication should evolve. He also said he provides “runway” — financial support over a lengthy period in which the management can experiment to find a profitable formula for delivering the news.

“If we figure out a new golden era at The Post . . . that will be due to the ingenuity and inventiveness and experimentation of the team at The Post,” he said. “I’ll be there with advice from a distance. If we solve that problem, I won’t deserve credit for it.”

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Bezos, who will remain in charge of Amazon and will continue to live in Seattle where the company is headquartered, intends to use the same long-term strategy of the tech company: “We’ve had three big ideas at Amazon that we’ve stuck with for 18 years, and they’re the reason we’re successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient,” he said. “If you replace ‘customer’ with ‘reader,’ that approach, that point of view, can be successful at The Post, too.”

Bezos will visit the Post Tuesday and Wednesday this week, where he will tour the facility and meet with the management and newsroom staff. The sale is expected to be completed in October.

Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

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