Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has agreed to pay $250 million for The Washington Post.
Amazon will have no role in the purchase, the paper reported in a story on the deal.
Bezos released a letter to the staff of the newspaper emphasizing his commitment to the paper’s values:
“The paper’s duty will remain to its readers and not to the private interests of its owners. We will continue to follow the truth wherever it leads, and we’ll work hard not to make mistakes. When we do, we will own up to them quickly and completely.”
He went on to champion the role of journalists in America:
“Journalism plays a critical role in a free society, and The Washington Post — as the hometown paper of the capital city of the United States — is especially important. I would highlight two kinds of courage the Grahams have shown as owners that I hope to channel. The first is the courage to say wait, be sure, slow down, get another source. Real people and their reputations, livelihoods and families are at stake. The second is the courage to say follow the story, no matter the cost.”
“This is a day that my family and I never expected to come,” publisher Katharine Weymouth wrote in a letter to Post readers. “In addition to The Washington Post, the company is selling Greater Washington Publishing, the Gazette newspapers, Express, El Tiempo Latino and Robinson Terminal.” The paper had been in the Graham family for four generations.
The late-afternoon announcement caught the newsroom and industry players off guard:
I am floored.
— Michael Birnbaum (@michaelbirnbaum) August 5, 2013
Well, this is unexpected
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) August 5, 2013
It's so rare at work that you get a "Holy S—" moment.
— monica hesse (@MonicaHesse) August 5, 2013