Thursday, August 8, 2013

Jeff Bezos Bought The WaPo

... and consternation and apprehension are the most common result, with the usual helping of FUD to give the "news" a generous helping of misdirection and doubt.

I have no doubt Our Man From Amazon had a pretty clearly worked out plan for making the Washington Post a viable news reporting business venture again long before he started scrapping his pennies together to throw at the Graham family and their stock holders.  Many of the questioners and doubters seem to assume he simply must continue operating the paper in the established (and financially ruinous) fashion because that's how they get paid, don't you know.

My bet; NOT!

Just one easy example as to how to improve the print news reporting model follows:

Hire 250 bloggers around the country, 25 of which are experienced print reporters (columnists, etc) who have successfully continued the practice on their blog.  Pay all of them $1,000/mo and the experienced reporters twice that.  The experienced reporters "supervise" the story collection/reporting efforts of 9 of the others in a given story classification (politics, style, sports, etc).  All of a story's contributing writers/bloggers receive a percentage of a stipulated payment for each story published.  If no more then 30% of the "staff bloggers" are actually in the D.C. area, then any story, however national in orientation, would have a local and regional context included if only by dint of each contributors individual perspective.

Once this model is established (say a year, maybe 18 months tops), double the staff bloggers with the new hires being located in some other country than the USA.

At which point, The Washington Post spends a couple million a month at most and has original, unique news reporting wholly independent of any other reporting operation on (or off) the planet, all of which is for sale or syndication.  Along with the usual advertising revenue.  Probably with the actual "print" (as in on actual news print paper with all that implies) version as a premium option for the gentry readership.  I also expect to see podcast coverage of on-going or specific issue reporting to become part of the post-Bezos WaPo model too; read the initial story then download the podcast to listen to on the commute to work.

Not that Jeff needs my help with any of this, but I think this easily demonstrates that the established process to ruining a news reporting business isn't his only option; also, that I really don't know what I'm talking about here.

But this guy does.

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