The free world’s media are preoccupied with the bombshell du jour — what will Amazon chief Jeff Bezos do with his new obsession, the Washington Post? Bezos acquired it on Monday, by himself and independent of Amazon, for $250 million — and promptly went incommunicado with the panting media. So, everyone is dying to know what he wants to accomplish. Naturally.
I’m curious, too, though I don’t live in Washington or, I confess, read the Post everyday. I care deeply about the state and the health of the American media industry. I have high hopes that Bezos can transform the financial side of the business without inflicting too much pain on the newsroom.
If I had my way, I’d ask Bezos these five questions:
1) Will the Washington Post morph into your “next Amazon,” meaning an innovative, digital-first media model — and do you think a paper version of the Post has any future?
2) Do you envision gaining any additional political traction by gobbling up the single most influential media voice in all of Washington?
3) Will you revert to the old-media strategy of laying off newsroom employees to show Wall Street that you’re capable of taking decisive action?
4) Will your fingerprints be on the new Post?
5) Amazon is based in Seattle. The Post is the face of Washington. So, tell the truth, Mr. Bezos: Which team would you root for, if the Seattle Seahawks go on to play the Washington Redskins in January in the National Football Conference championship game?
Only question 5, if answered bluntly, might cause Bezos to feel uncomfortable.