AirTalk for August 6, 2013

Bezos’ Washington Post purchase: Philanthropy or good business?

Amazon Holds News Conference

David McNew/Getty Images

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos holds a new front-lit Kindle during a press conference on September 6, 2012 in California. Bezos bought out the Washington Post yesterday for $250 million.

Jeffrey Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon.com has agreed to buy the Washington Post for $250 million. The announcement of the mutli-billionaire’s purchase came yesterday, surprising many who didn’t expect the tech native’s interest in newspapers and publishing. Some people have written off the deal as another of Bezos’ eclectic investments. Along with Amazon, he’s taken on projects like recovering Apollo 11’s rocket engines from the sea floor and trying to build a clock that keeps time for 10,000 years. But others say the tech-savvy Bezos may be able to help the paper, which, like the newspaper industry as a whole, has struggled to draw in readers and advertisers.

How will the credibility of the Washington Post hold up following the sale? Will Bezos breathe new life into the paper or just bring it down? What are some of the consequences of taking a publicly traded company private?

Guests:

Brad Stone, Senior Tech Writer, Bloomberg Businessweek; Author of the forthcoming book, “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon” (Little Brown, October 2013)   Articles by Stone: Why Is Jeff Bezos Buying the Washington Post? and Amazon's Jeff Bezos Buys the Washington Post, Boggles Minds.

Gabriel Kahn, professor at USC Annenberg Journalism School and co-director of the Media, Economics and Entrepreneurship program


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