Amid much despair there is some good news in media world. The Washington Post is profitable and still values traditional reporting skills.

Good news in media world; Washington Post profitable, traditional reporting valued

It’s not all fake news and buy-outs. Traditional reporting skills still matter. There is some good news in the media world today.

Take the thriving Washington Post. Bought by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos in October 2013, speculation swirled on what lay ahead for the then-stuggling paper. At the time of the purchase the Post was an independent paper, owned for 80 years by the Graham family.

traditional reporting skill still valued at the Washington Post

Things have gone well though. Bezos tossed a reported $50 million at newsroom and digital plans. In December 2016 the publisher said the paper was “profitable and growing”. The Post reported 100 million visitors to its website in 2016, digital revenue has doubled in that period and subscriptions to the Post online are climbing.

How things have changed
Editor Marty Baron recently told USA Today Bezos is closely involved, but only to talk strategy – he keeps his hands off the day-to-day functioning of the newsroom and the stories.

Baron said he welcomes Bezos’ presence, as he brings a new point of view including an understanding of technology and consumer behaviour.

One of Bezos’ strategic changes has been to broaden their coverage from just Washington to become a national publication. They also make a point of doing stories on topics that are already trending and they started an overnight shift to serve up fresh content to readers each morning.

Hiring blitz part of ‘Bezos effect’
Unlike many of its compatriots in the news media, the Post is hiring. In December Publisher and CEO Fred Ryan told Politico that the newspaper may hire as many as 60 journalists – to work on breaking news, quick turnaround investigative pieces, video and audio podcasts.

While the ‘Bezos effect’ looks at first like wholesale change, what it really comes down to is a focus on traditional reporting and solid news – delivered through new channels.

To serve up that product requires reporters with the same qualities they have always needed.

When asked by USA Today to describe today’s ideal journalist Editor Marty Baron had this to say: “Be good, know how to report, be good with the language and understand all the new tools and how we tell stories.”

‘Twas ever thus.

 

 

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