Media News

Bezos makes surprise visit to WaPo newsroom amid layoff fears

January 24, 2023

Posted by Mariam Ahmed

No, he didn’t beam in via Blue Origin spaceship orbiting Earth. But perhaps the surprise visit of founder Jeff Bezos served the purpose of providing some rocket fuel to lift newsroom morale at the Washington Post.

The Post, unlike other major news organizations, is going through a push-pull of naming many new hires while letting current staffers go, as reported in Talking Biz News. As for how the ecommerce guru and WaPo owner spent his time in the newsroom, New York Times reporters Benjamin Mullin and Katie Robertson shared this story with readers:

Jeff Bezos (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

The Washington Post has been battling declining ad revenue and stalled online subscription growth. The question hovering over it in recent months: What does Jeff Bezos think?

The Amazon founder, who bought the news organization in 2013, has said nothing publicly about The Post’s recent struggles. But on Thursday, he made a rare appearance in the newsroom, joining the morning news meeting for the first time in more than a year.

He still said little. “I’m delighted to be here and see all these faces,” Mr. Bezos said, according to three people with knowledge of his remarks, before asking The Post’s top editor, Sally Buzbee, about her recent trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “Thank you for allowing me to listen in,” he continued.

“Great,” Ms. Buzbee said. “Let’s have a news meeting.”

But the meeting — with Mr. Bezos seated next to Ms. Buzbee at a large conference table in a glass-walled conference room on the sixth floor, with the publisher, Fred Ryan, sitting nearby — signaled that he was paying attention.

“Jeff is here for in-person meetings with Fred, Sally and staff across the newsroom,” a Post spokeswoman said in an email.

Other than Mr. Bezos’ appearance, the news meeting proceeded as it might on any other day, with editors discussing news stories and readership trends, according to the people with knowledge of the meeting. At one point, an editor mentioned plans to run an article about the discontinuation of AmazonSmile, a charity program that Mr. Bezos championed. The editors also discussed the pending sale of the Washington Commanders. The Post previously reported that Mr. Bezos was interested in buying the National Football League team.

Read more here.



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