The Graham family has controlled the iconic newspaper since the 1930s, including at its height in the mid 1970s when Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s coverage of the Watergate scandal helped to topple President Richard Nixon. But that ends with the deal today: Jeff Bezos has agreed to pay $250M for The Washington Post and other newspapers owned by its parent company, but not related properties Slate magazine, TheRoot.com and Foreign Policy. Bezos also is not buying the Post–Newsweek TV Stations and Cable ONE; they will stay with the Washington Post Co., which will change its name.
“I understand the critical role the Post plays in Washington, DC and our nation, and the Post’s values will not change,” Bezos says. “Our duty to readers will continue to be the heart of the Post, and I am very optimistic about the future.” He has asked CEO and Publisher Katharine Weymouth, General Manager Stephen Hills, Executive Editor Martin Baron, and Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt to remain in their positions. The release emphasizes that Bezos is buying the papers “in his individual capacity,” not to be part of Amazon. “The Post could have survived under the [Washington Post] company’s ownership and been profitable for the foreseeable future,” CEO Donald Graham told his paper. “But we wanted to do more than survive. I’m not saying this guarantees success but it gives us a much greater chance of success.” In a letter to readers Weymouth said that the decision to sell was made “with a heavy heart,” but adds that Bezos “will continue the tradition that the Graham family started” to offer “tough, penetrating, insightful, and indispensable journalism.” (more…)