But what does that mean for everyone caught in between?
At a time when journalism is dealing with incredibly fast change within its ranks, the purchase of a newspaper appears perplexing. It’s hard to see the specific journey one publication might take, let along the entire field. Where is the advantage in owning something that could prove to be a nuisance? (Just ask Chris Hughes.)
Chief executive of Amazon Jeff Bezos, the billionaire that turned a book selling site into the modern day online shopping market, never had the intention of owning one of the country’s most prominent and oldest newspaper, the Washington Post.
He paid $250 million for a paper that had gone through a number of different buyouts and staff change ups. You’d think this guy is nuts. Turns out, Bezos might be a better candidate for the job. With so many years under his belt integrating the Internet into a new brand thing called Amazon, and with a trusty sidekick in Shailesh Prakash, who is the head of technology at the Post, the paper might not be so doomed.
The conflict of technology entering the news world is an inevitable one. But so is technology’s integration into the world, and it’s only a matter of time before that integration is complete.
“Technology has become crucial to every newsroom, of course, but not all technology has been designed equally. News organizations born in the print era have generally knit together disparate systems over the years to produce websites that integrate graphics, social media and reader comments with various degrees of smoothness.”
– New York Times
As the creators of Vox and Buzzfeed probably have already figured out, it isn’t too difficult to go from print to digital when you start on a digital platform. Why is going digital drawing so many journalists into the claws of online publishing? The ease by which reporters can conduct their work.
The content management system used by Vox Media is famous for it’s ease and reliability, this application stands as a toolset that makes every journalist using feel freer to conduct their reporting.
“It is credited with having a toolset that allows journalists to edit and illustrate their copy in dramatic fashion, promote their work on social media, and interact with readers — all seamlessly and intuitively.”
Now wouldn’t that be an ambitious goal as journalists? To be able to conduct all the reporting necessary, to freely write? All completely without restrictions or barriers that one may deal with in print and allow ourselves to grow our brand without all the leg work? This only makes the field more fluid.
This has become a necessary device for writers as there is no such thing as just a reporter anymore. One doesn’t enter the field as just a writer or a television broadcaster. Everyone has become digital media journalists. Not everyone wants to be, or at least find the switch to be rather a difficult one. When the New Republic was bought and went viral, the staff had an uprising that threatened the century old publication.
A sign of mismanagement? Sure. But that doesn’t mean Chris Hughes didn’t understand that this is direction to take the magazine. His staff remained apprehensive until the end. Perhaps they made their point, but this doesn’t change the direction of the field.
Bezos has his hands full when it comes to managing a publication heading online, but he has a few advantages. He’s been in the industry for awhile. Knowing that you don’t know where the flow of the media environment will take you is good. Bezos has good people around him. This can become essential when making decisions about the management of a company. But he also has another vital asset: He’s got money, and bags of it! This can be a dangerous advantage in the world when you don’t know how to use it. For Bezos and the Post, I hope that he knows how.