Era ends, new chapter set for Washington Post

Era ends, new chapter set for Washington Post

WASHINGTON - With Jeff Bezos set to take over The Washington Post, the big question is: Can he arrest its decline and deliver an economic model for the rest of the industry?

The 49-year-old founder of Amazon could give the storied newspaper a chance to make the transition to the digital age, but it remains unclear whether he has a winning formula for ailing metropolitan daily newspapers.

Bezos, who agreed in August to buy the Post for US$250 million (S$314 million) and take it private, is expected to close the deal sometime in early October, though no official date has been disclosed.

He has said little about his plans for the 136-year-old daily, which has long been seen as among the most influential in the United States, famous for its trailblazing coverage of the Watergate break-in and subsequent cover up which led to the resignation of president Richard Nixon in 1974.

Bezos said in August that he had "no map" for the Post but in a recent interview with CNN he called the newspaper "an important institution," and remarked that he was "optimistic about its future."

"It's a personal investment. I'm hopeful that I can help from a distance in part by providing runway for them to do a series of experiments, in part through bringing some of the philosophy that we have used at Amazon to the Post," he said.

'Long and patient view'

Some say Bezos, a pioneer in online retailing, could revitalize a traditional business where recent years have seen jobs being slashed amid sinking revenues as news and advertising moves to the Internet.

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