retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times reports that the Washington Post, having after years of financial problems was acquired from longtime owners the Graham family by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for $750 million, is now "significantly" increasing its budget, plans to hire dozens of people to work in the newsroom, "will add a breaking news desk and a Sunday style and arts section, as well as a revamped Sunday magazine."

This is in contrast with many newspapers, where the response to economic difficulties has been to cut staff and reduce services and spending.

According to the Times, Bezos has "closely consulted" with Post leadership in plotting strategy and tactics.

"Bezos would “just challenge our assumptions, cause us to rethink things,” says Mart Baron, the Post executive editor. “He’s spent his entire life and his entire career thinking about where the consumer will be in the long run, and where the technology will be in the long run … He hasn’t been passive. He’s heavily engaged, keenly interested in what our ideas are. He offered his own thoughts and expressed a willingness to invest."
KC's View:
The core question that seems to have been asked through the Post process has been, how do we best produce growth? And Bezos has learned over his career, and he continues to demonstrate at Amazon, that he believes that the best way to grow is to invest in future growth. Backing down just opens opportunities for the competition.

Fascinating. And one of the reasons that an old-world industry like the newspaper business needs people like Bezos to come in and shake things up.