Jeff Bezos, Marty Baron, James discussed on The Kindle Chronicles
Is february twelfth. Twenty twenty one on santa bell island in florida. My guest this week is my grandson. James who will be fifteen years old and nine days on february twenty first. We spoke by zoom. He's up in cambridge. And i'm here in santa bell About half an hour about his new school in western massachusetts the pandemic and his experience of it as a freshman in high school and Probably the part that tickle me most was his candor in his enthusiasm for what. He's learning about his journey as a writer. Also in this episode I wanna tell you about some comments. That marty baron made in an interview with the new yorker and this is on the occasion of his impending retirement as the executive editor of the washington post was a wide ranging interview. But what most interested me was what he had to say about working for. Jeff bezos as the owner of the washington post and. then i've got some For the tip. I wanna talk to you about the new fire operating system. Which i just installed tonight and i've heard from a couple of you that this is a big change in how the fire looks and it's worth looking at. Let's get started. Marty baron was already legendary newspaper editor before he joined the washington post as editor in two thirteen. He had been the editor of boston. Globe at the time of the globes Crusading work to light problems of child abuse within the catholic church and he the he even had a movie made about it. He didn't play himself in the movie. But it was pretty dramatic movie just showing how tough a job that was to break open into the sunlight. What was going on behind the scenes in the art sizes of pasta so he shows up at the post in twenty thirteen and a less than a year later. The post is purchased by. Jeff bezos So the new yorker in an article in the current issue by isaac charter Does a an actual interview question to answer the fellow to over the phone with Marty baron and I was really intrigued to see if there are any changes in barons view of basil's I had heard him speak several years ago at south by southwest baron and at that time it was more new but the basics of basil's not interfering at all in the amazon coverage by the paper and just Believing in the mission of the paper and doing it for that reason that that was what i thought was the case and it was pretty much confirmed in this interview with with something. That was a little bit surprising. That i'll tell you about Barron says in the interview that when. Jeff bezos acquired the post in two thousand thirteen. He fundamentally changed our strategy and that was to go from being a news organization that was focused primarily on our region to being a news organization that would be national and even international. He said at the time and he was correct that we are in an ideal position to do so because we are in the nation's capital that's a good base for that we have the name the washington post which can be leveraged to a national scale unlike a lot of other names of publications around the country and we have a history and heritage the shaper identity. Which is going back to watergate. China light on dark corners. I love this line. He says the implication is that we didn't have to go on a retreat to figure out. Who the hell we were so with that. We became national I find that Revealing parable of the way. Jeff bezos looks at a problem from way high up in terms of perspective. What is this thing called washington post. What kinds of opportunities does it have. Just by the fact it has washington in its name. Where might people be interested in reading what goes on in that city all over the world and so his digital strategy of expansion and turning the post profitable all flowed from the scene into the essence of This newspaper which he was invited to by By the the graham family as a way to preserve the post into the future baron is asked. Why did basil's by the post And he says things which you would expect in which i believe is true that he believes in the mission of journalism. He thinks it's important for democracy. So the civics book Aspects of y bezos is involved in it. He's confirmed this lately in talking about why he has decided to retire as ceo in july But then barron speculates a little and. I don't think i've seen this before. But it seems right to me. He says but my guess is also that he thought it was an interesting challenge and my sense of him is that he likes challenges and that he thought this was doable. And going back to what. I said about how we shifted our strategy. He saw an opportunity that i think others did not see. And that's what makes him him. He recognized that if we could shift our strategy to be national and even international. We could turn the post around because he felt that while focusing on our region was perhaps the right strategy for a different era it wasn't the right strategy for the current one. that's what makes him him He was naturally as well. What about covering amazon. You've heard me talk on the show that that Anybody who reads the washington post coverage of jeff bezos and amazon I don't think would spend a lotta time worrying that the ownership of the papers resulting News coverage sl- slanted toward in a favorable way toward amazon But anyway the new yorker guy says was there a different editorial process amazon stories. Baron answers none zero none. There's just no different process. We treat it like anything else that we do when we first when he first met with the staff he said. Cover me the way you cover anybody else and cover amazon the way you cover any other company. He's reiterated that on several occasions. I've never experienced anything that calls that into question. He hasn't interfered in any way whatsoever with our coverage. And i've never heard a complaint never heard a suggestion never heard anything This this confirm my sense of how basil's has been hailing the post I thought that Several years ago at south by southwest baron and his top digital guy said that they were in a meeting every other week with basil's high level strategy meeting and it appears that that's not quite so frequent now because barron said that he The meetings are typically typically once every two weeks three weeks or something like that. Sometimes we go for a while without any meetings. It's not as regular was but every few weeks we have a meeting. I think maybe after july when jeff steps down see yoda the washington post editor. Whoever it might be after baron Might be having a few more meetings more involvement because that's something jeff said is is important to him. He likes doing something. That improves civilisation in washington. Post and blue origin Both fit that criterion But i'm sure that there won't be any shift in how much.