Robert Kennedy
(Bill Eppridge/Courtesy of Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)
October 03, 2013

Bill Eppridge, Photographer Who Captured RFK's Death, Dies at 75

Bill Eppridge, a legendary photojournalist who spent most of his career working for Life magazine and Sports Illustrated, died Thursday in Danbury, Conn. He had been suffering from a blood infection brought on by a fall that injured his hand, according to the National Press Photographers Association. He was 75.

According to The Echo Foundation, Eppridge began his photojournalism career as a student at the University of Missouri in 1960. He later embarked on a nine-month journey around the world on his first professional assignment for National Geographic. He then started shooting for Life — a publication he had admired since childhood.

During the course of his career with Life, Eppridge covered, among other stories, revolutions in Latin America, the Beatles' arrival in the U.S., a young Barbra Streisand, a story on heroin addiction and the funeral of slain civil rights worker James Chaney in Mississippi in 1964.

Eppridge is perhaps most famously known for photographing the death of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles in 1968. He had followed Kennedy on the campaign trail in 1966 and had intimate access to the senator. The night of the assassination, Eppridge covered Kennedy's speech to a packed ballroom, then followed him back to the hotel kitchen, where he was shot in a nearby passageway by 24-year-old Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan. Eppridge's photo of Kennedy on the floor being held by busboy Juan Romero is a stark, haunting image, where the senator is seen illuminated by a halo of light.

(View a full gallery of Eppridge's images from that night at LIFE.com.)

After Life folded in 1972, Eppridge went on to work at Sports Illustrated as well as becoming a teacher at Yale and various photo workshops. At the time of his death he was working with his wife, Adrienne Aurichio, on a photo book showcasing his work covering the Beatles' invasion of America. The book is due to be released in early 2014.


September 20, 2013

Ill. Reporter In Contempt For Not Revealing Source

A suburban Chicago reporter has been found in contempt for failing to disclose how he got confidential police reports in a gruesome double murder case.

Joe Hosey is a reporter and editor with the AOL news website Patch. A Will County judge ordered him to turn over his notes and reveal a source who shared details of the case with him.

The Southtown Star reported Judge Gerald Kinney ruled Hosey was in contempt Friday and ordered him to disclose his source in 180 days. Hosey could face jail time.

Hosey used leaked police reports to write stories about January slayings in the Chicago suburb of Joliet.

Four people are charged in the crime. An attorney for one defendant filed a motion to determine how Hosey obtained the information.


NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.
(Charles Dharapak/AP)
September 13, 2013

NPR To Offer Voluntary Buyouts In Bid To Balance Budget

Saying that the goal is to balance its budget in fiscal year 2015, NPR announced late Friday morning that it will soon offer "a voluntary buyout plan across the organization that reduces staffing levels by approximately 10 percent."

The organization now has 840 full- and part-time employees. The recent recession hit NPR and most other media outlets as contributors/advertisers scaled back their spending. NPR's financial future has also been complicated by discussions on Capitol Hill about scaling back or eliminating federal support for public broadcasting.

In a message to the staff, CEO Gary Knell and Kit Jensen (who chairs NPR's board of directors) said:

"As you know, NPR is working toward achieving a balanced budget in FY 2015. To this end, the board has approved a FY 2014 budget that is rooted in a long-term strategic roadmap that eliminates NPR's operating deficit within the next two years while giving NPR the flexibility to make strategic investments in high quality journalism, programming, digital innovation, and revenue-building initiatives. The budget we approved includes operating and investment revenues of $178.1 million, expenses of $183 million, and an operating cash deficit of $6.1 million, or 3 percent of revenues.

"The strategy and budget NPR management put forward addresses the deficit in a thoughtful way and makes continual investment in the highest quality of programming. The cornerstones of NPR's FY14 strategy rest on exceptional content, audience engagement and growth, strong collaborations in the public radio network, and a sustainable financial business model.

"As part of the strategy to eliminate the deficit and lower ongoing expenses, NPR will offer a voluntary buyout plan across the organization that reduces staffing levels by approximately 10 percent. Next week, Chief Administrative Officer Joyce Slocum will provide information about this process to staff. The strategy also includes investments in our digital future and revenue generating initiatives such as branded events."

Also in the message, NPR staff learned that:

"The board has appointed Paul Haaga, our vice chair, to serve as the acting president & CEO, effective Sept. 30. Paul will work closely with members of the board and the senior management team to guide the organization as we search for a permanent chief executive. Gary Knell will remain close to NPR over the coming months and will serve as an advisor to Paul through Dec. 31."

Knell announced last month that he's leaving NPR to become president and CEO at the National Geographic Society.

We'll have more about this later. NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik is working the story.

Update at 1:47 p.m. ET. Doing It In A "Respectful Way":

At a meeting with NPR staff, Knell says the goal has been to craft a buyout plan that reduces employment "in the most respectful way for our union and non-union staff alike."

Details will be coming, he says, but the broad outlines include:

— Those eligible must have been continuously employed by NPR for at least three years (he added that some employees with that much experience will be excluded from the offer).

— Those who accept the offer and are approved will receive "2 days pay per month of service" up to a maximum of 300 days.

Knell says the plan is "what I absolutely would be doing if I was staying here."

Update at 1:15 p.m. ET. David Folkenflik's Report.

David filed this for our Newscast Desk:

"The financial news came on a day when NPR also named a new acting CEO. Current CEO Gary Knell earlier announced his intention to take the top job at the National Geographic Society — he will be replaced by NPR board Vice Chairman Paul Haaga, a lawyer and retired chairman of the capital research and management company.

"The voluntary buyouts were prompted by NPR's needs to eliminate red ink. The not-for-profit company will run a 3 percent deficit on a budget of $183 million in the coming fiscal year.

"Philanthropic gifts and foundation grants have rebounded since the financial crisis and NPR says it's been the best year for both since the late Joan Kroc's gift of roughly $250 million a decade ago. But underwriting revenues from corporate spots have not."


David Frost
(Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
September 01, 2013

British Journalist And TV Personality Sir David Frost Dies At 74

Veteran British journalist and broadcaster Sir David Frost has died from a suspected heart attack while aboard a luxury cruise ship. He was 74.

The Guardian and The Daily Mail both report that Frost was in the process of giving a speech aboard the Queen Elizabeth II, en route from Southampton to Lisbon, when he collapsed.

Frost, whose programs included That Was The Week That Was, which ran for two years on the BBC before being picked up by American television, and The Frost Report, conducted hundreds of high-profile interviews over the years, including his most famous, a 1977 talk with Richard Nixon in which the former president for the first time acknowledged some fault over the Watergate scandal.

The Mail says Frost "probably interviewed more world figures from royalty, politics, the Church, show-business and virtually everywhere else, than any other living broadcaster [and] was the most illustrious TV inquisitor of his generation."

Larry Miller, reporting for NPR from London says "David Frost trained as a preacher before heading to Cambridge University where he edited the student newspaper. He rose to fame as a satirist on the classic 1960's British current affairs show, That Was The Week That Was. During his career, he was equally at home with light entertainment and tough high profile interviews."

The BBC's Barney Jones, who edited his Breakfast with Frost program on the BBC for more than 10 years, said: "David loved broadcasting, did it brilliantly for more than 50 years and was eagerly looking forward to a host of projects - including interviewing the prime minister next week - before his sudden and tragic death. We will all miss him enormously."

The BBC reported a statement saying "His family are devastated and ask for privacy at a difficult time."

Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted his condolences: "My heart goes out to David Frost's family. He could be - and certainly was with me - both a friend and a fearsome interviewer."


August 26, 2013

Justice Backs Less Protective Ruling On Reporter Privilege

In a case closely watched by the intelligence community and the media, the Justice Department urged a federal appeals court on Monday to leave in place a court ruling that gives reporters little protection from testifying against their sources in criminal prosecutions.

Federal prosecutors told the Virginia-based U.S . Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that its ruling earlier this year in the case of former CIA operative Jeffrey Sterling should stand. Sterling's accused of leaking classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen, whom prosecutors describe as the "only eyewitness to the crimes charged in the indictment."

Risen's been compelled to testify under orders that began under George W. Bush and continued into the Barack Obama administration. But his lawyers, citing new Justice Department guidelines that give reporters more protection from subpoenas, have pressed both Attorney General Eric Holder and the full 4th Circuit Appeals court to take another look at the issue. Risen's position has attracted support and friend of the court briefs from media coalitions that include NPR.

But the Justice Department, for now at least, has refused to budge.

"Risen asserts that the Justice Department's recent revisions to its internal guidelines concerning investigations involving members of the press support a common law privilege," wrote U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride and Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman. "That is incorrect. Although the Department has made significant changes to parts of its internal guidelines—in particular, to the guidelines governing the notice that must be given to reporters before the government may obtain their business records through legal process—the basic requirements Risen cites (that the information is essential, unavailable from another source, and sought as a last resort) have been in place for decades and have not changed."

In recent weeks, Risen has told friends and colleagues that he would fight the subpoena and would go to jail rather than implicate his alleged source.

A Justice Department official predicted to NPR Monday that "the case would not end with Risen going to jail," but the official declined to offer additional details about how that might work in practice.


Gary Knell
(Sesame Workshop)
August 19, 2013

NPR CEO Gary Knell Announces He's Leaving

After fewer than 21 months on the job, NPR CEO Gary Knell announced at mid-day Monday that he's leaving the organization to become president and CEO at National Geographic.

In a message to the staff, Knell says:

"Dear Friends,

"Before I even started at NPR, I had huge respect for this organization. And from the first minute of my first day at NPR, my respect has only grown. Seven days a week, around the clock, NPR is 'on the story' no matter where it happens. That's because of what each of you make happen. The power of this organization rests in the collective brilliance, courage, and dedication of our staff and our station community – and in our shared commitment to making this institution better each day.

"Knowing this makes it a little easier to share a difficult decision I've made. I will be leaving NPR after my term ends in late fall to join the National Geographic Society as its President and CEO. I was approached by the organization recently and offered an opportunity that, after discussions with my family, I could not turn down.

"As President and CEO, supporting NPR's success – your success – has been my highest ambition. Working together, we have put NPR on more solid footing to continue to deliver the highest-quality journalism and programming. We have launched innovative new platforms and made meaningful strides in attracting new audiences and new funding. We have promoted a series of collaborations in news gathering, development, and a digital future. And we have an exceptionally strong leadership team in place that is charting an ambitious path for our future.

"We also face challenges, including the mandate to bring NPR to break-even cash operations. We are completing a plan to focus our limited resources which support our essential services to stations and audiences. We will present that plan to the Board soon, go over it carefully, and make it a reality.

"The Board, under the leadership of Chair Kit Jensen, has been incredibly supportive of my leadership and is more than up to the task of finding a great successor. This is a remarkable organization and being NPR's CEO is a remarkable job, the best part of which has been engaging with each of you and with thousands and thousands of our supporters around the country. This is a job that demands everything of you, but returns more than you'd thought possible.

"It has taken a great deal of personal reflection on my part to reach this decision. I will leave with a sense of enormous gratitude to each of you for all you do to make this organization a national treasure.

"In the upheaval of today's media environment, you offer something few other media companies can. NPR is and will always be a beacon of journalistic integrity, commitment, and courage. We do what we do so that we can serve our audiences and give them what they need to be informed and connected with their communities, their country, and the world we live in.

"Thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with you."

Knell came to NPR from Sesame Workshop in December 2011, in the wake of considerable upheaval. Vivian Schiller resigned as CEO and president earlier that year, after two high-profile controversies led NPR's board of directors to conclude that she could no longer effectively lead the organization.

There was the Fall 2010 dismissal of NPR analyst Juan Williams after he said on Fox News Channel that he gets nervous when he sees people in "Muslim garb" on airplanes. And there was the release in March 2011 of a videotape surreptitiously made by associates of conservative activist James O'Keefe and heavily edited before its release, showing then-NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller (no relation to Vivian) slamming conservatives and appearing to question whether NPR needs federal funding.

 

Glenn Greenwald and David Miranda
(Ricardo Moraes /Reuters/Landov)
August 19, 2013

NSA Leak Reporter Says 'U.K. Puppets' Detained His Partner

The detention for nine hours Sunday of journalist Glenn Greenwald's partner by authorities at London's Heathrow Airport was an attack "on the news-gathering process and journalism," Greenwald writes on The Guardian's website.

Greenwald, one of the correspondents who in June brought "NSA leaker" Edward Snowden's secrets about U.S. National Security Agency surveillance programs to light, adds that:

"It's bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It's worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic. Even the Mafia had ethical rules against targeting the family members of people they felt threatened by. But the U.K. puppets and their owners in the U.S. national security state obviously are unconstrained by even those minimal scruples."

Greenwald charges that British officials "abused their own terrorism law" — specifically, Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 — by questioning his partner, Brazilian citizen David Miranda. Authorities also seized Miranda's "laptop, his cellphone, various video game consoles, DVDs, USB sticks, and other materials," Greenwald says.

— " 'Terrorist' means a person who ... is or has been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism." Section 40(1)(b); link here.

"They obviously had zero suspicion that David was associated with a terrorist organization or involved in any terrorist plot," he writes.

Greenwald tells the BBC that authorities "never asked [Miranda] ... a single question at all about terrorism or anything relating to a terrorist organization. ... They spent the entire day asking about the reporting I was doing and other Guardian journalists were doing on the NSA stories."

According to The Associated Press, "the 28-year-old Miranda was returning home to Brazil from Germany, where he was staying with Laura Poitras, a U.S. filmmaker who has worked with Greenwald on the NSA story. ... London police acknowledged that they had detained a 28-year-old man at 8:05 a.m. He was released at 5 p.m. without being arrested, the Metropolitan Police Service said. ... The Brazilian government expressed 'grave concern' over the detention of Miranda, Greenwald's longtime partner with whom he's in a civil union. The pair lives in Rio de Janeiro."

The Guardian says that "Scotland Yard refused to be drawn [out] on why Miranda was stopped using powers that enable police officers to stop and question travelers at U.K. ports and airports." The BBC reports that "a Home Office spokesman said on Monday: 'Schedule 7 forms an essential part of the U.K.'s security arrangements — it is for the police to decide when it is necessary and proportionate to use these powers.' "

Miranda is now home in Brazil.

Update at 10 a.m. ET. Lawmakers, Independent Reviewer Call For Answers:

"Senior politicians and an independent reviewer have raised questions about David Miranda's nine-hour detention at Heathrow Airport," the BBC says. "Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, and shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said police must explain why terrorism powers were used. ... The Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, David Anderson QC, said it was very unusual for a passenger to be held for the full nine hours under this schedule and he wanted to 'get to the bottom' of what had happened. He said he had asked the Home Office and Scotland Yard for a full briefing."


August 16, 2013

NSA Has Broken Privacy Rules 'Thousands Of Times Each Year'

The morning's major scoop comes from The Washington Post:

"The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents."

According to the Post, "most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by statute and executive order. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and telephone calls."

It adds that the audit and other documents come from "NSA leaker" Edward Snowden and "include a level of detail and analysis that is not routinely shared with Congress or the special court that oversees surveillance."

An NSA official tells the Post that it tries to flag such problems "at the earliest possible moment, [and] implement mitigation measures wherever possible, and drive the numbers down. ... We're a human-run agency operating in a complex environment with a number of different regulatory regimes, so at times we find ourselves on the wrong side of the line."

The New York Times followed up the Post report and leads its story with this:

"The National Security Agency violated privacy rules protecting the communications of Americans and others on domestic soil 2,776 times over a one-year period, according to an internal audit leaked by the former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden and made public on Thursday night."

Politico says that:

"The details in the report are the clearest window yet into the extent to which surveillance programs overstep laws and other rules. Last year, the intelligence community declassified the fact that the FISA Court found that surveillance programs violated the Fourth Amendment at least one time, but little else has been divulged about the NSA's compliance records."

NPR has not obtained or seen the documents.

Last week, the Times reported that the NSA has been "searching the contents of vast amounts of Americans' e-mail and text communications into and out of the country, hunting for people who mention information about foreigners under surveillance, according to intelligence officials."


newspapers
August 11, 2013

The Tricky Business Of Predicting Where Media Will Go Next

What's next for The Washington Post? With a new owner, the paper is stepping into a new era. Its path may lead to the ever-evolving future of journalism.

"There is no map, and charting a path ahead will not be easy," said Amazon founder Jeff Bezos with the announcement of his purchase Monday. "We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment."

Experimentation and leaps of faith led to the Huffington Posts and the BuzzFeeds of the current media world. While advertising revenues decline and newspapers change hands, some still see a place for institutions like The Post (apparently, Bezos thought it was worth $250 million). But the face of legacy media will not look or feel the same.

Hope For The Post, In '92

Bezos' message on Monday echoes a prescient one made two decades earlier, by the Post's then-Managing Editor Robert Kaiser.

Kaiser had just attended a conference convened by Apple in Tokyo. On the plane back to Washington, D.C., he wrote his takeaway on a yellow legal pad, now available online. The conference, involving leaders in the computer, software and media worlds, offered a glimmer of how technology could — and would — revolutionize the media industry.

"The Post ought to be in the forefront of this — not for the adventure, but for important defensive purposes," Kaiser wrote in 1992. "We'll only defeat electronic competitors by playing their game better than they can play it."

(One of his recommendations: "Create the first electronic newspaper — put the paper into a computer and see if we can create something that was easy to read, fun to play with and so on.")

Though he had his warnings, Kaiser wrote that he could "find no one at this conference who would predict the demise of the newspaper. No one. All saw an important place for us."

And so, Kaiser expected, "There's a big and important role for The Washington Post in this new world." But the revolution didn't happen the way Kaiser had hoped.

"The fact is, because we were so big, so fat and so happy, and because everything seemed to be going our way, we were just in no frame of mind to take the big, adventurous steps that would have been required to really, you know, try to become pioneers in this realm," he tells Jacki Lyden, host of weekends on All Things Considered.

The Elements Of The Huffington Post

Arianna Huffington upended the traditional news model in 2005 by starting The Huffington Post, but she doesn't see ventures like hers as substitutes for newspapers.

"I don't really think it's a question of replacing newspapers. I think it's a convergence," she tells NPR.

But The Huffington Post, aggregating and re-posting content from across the Web, had many skeptics. "I think there were definitely many more naysayers than people who thought it would work," Huffington says.

One LA Weekly review was particularly unsupportive: "This website venture is the sort of failure that is simply unsurvivable. Her blog is such a bomb that it's the movie equivalent of Gigli, Ishtar and Heaven's Gate rolled into one."

But in what others saw as lowbrow Web content, Huffington saw opportunity to share and engage. She breaks the model down into four elements: blogging, curation, commenting/audience engagement and original reporting (which played a larger role as the site's popularity and profitability grew).

At first, curation, or aggregating content from other websites, in particular received backlash from traditional media, which viewed the practice as hawking others' work for free.

But, Huffington says, if curation is done accurately and fairly, it "is of tremendous benefit to the creators of the content, because it brings them many more eyeballs, a lot more traffic, which they can monetize." Now, curation is a common practice among news organizations of all statures.

The result of mixing these elements was something that didn't look quite like anything else.

"The fact that we can have the prime minister of France next to a homeless teenager who has something interesting to say, is something that is very much at the heart of what distinguishes HuffPost as a purely digital operation," Huffington says.

The Social Web

But in eight short years, even The Huffington Post is now challenged by forward-moving competitors, like BuzzFeed. Its founder and CEO, Jonah Peretti, came up with the idea for the site while working at The Huffington Post, which he co-founded.

After launching in 2006, BuzzFeed "was very much a laboratory" in the beginning, says company President Jon Steinberg. BuzzFeed started with six employees in a room in New York's Chinatown. The driving concept behind the operation: social sharing.

"Everything we write has to be shareable," Steinberg says. "And we think that's a really high bar. As opposed to writing for a search engine or writing for a robot of some kind, the content has to be compelling and novel and interesting enough that a person is willing to pass it along to another person."

 
Listen

 Jeff Bezos
(Reed Saxon/AP)
August 05, 2013

Amazon Founder Bezos To Buy Washington Post

Jeff Bezos, the Amazon.com founder who helped bring books into the digital age, is going after another pillar of "old media": the newspaper.

Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos struck a deal Monday to buy The Washington Post and other newspapers for $250 million in a startling demonstration of how the Internet has created both winners and losers and utterly transformed the media landscape.

Bezos made his fortune by pioneering online shopping, first with books, then with just about everything else, while The Washington Post, like most newspapers, has been losing readers and advertisers to the Internet while watching its value plummet.

The newspaper, celebrated a generation ago for breaking the Watergate scandal, has been forced in recent years to scale back its ambitions, cut its newsroom staff repeatedly and close several bureaus.

Bezos, 49, is buying the paper as an individual. Amazon.com Inc. is not involved.

Washington Post chairman and CEO Donald Graham called Bezos a "uniquely good new owner." He said the decision was made after years of newspaper industry challenges. The company, which owns the Kaplan education business and several TV stations, will change its name but didn't say what the new name will be.

Bezos said in a statement that he understands the Post's "critical role" in Washington and said its values won't change.

"The paper's duty will remain to its readers and not to the private interests of its owners," Bezos said to Post employees in a letter distributed to the media. "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."

Katharine Weymouth, the paper's publisher and CEO and a member of the Graham family that has owned the paper since 1933, will remain in her post. She has asked other senior managers to stay on as well.

"Mr. Bezos knows as well as anyone the opportunities that come with revolutionary technology when we understand how to make the most of it," she said in a letter to readers. "Under his ownership and with his management savvy, we will be able to accelerate the pace and quality of innovation."

The news surprised industry observers and even the paper's employees.

"I think we're all still in shock," said Robert McCartney, the paper's Metro columnist and a 31-year veteran. "Everybody's standing around the newsroom talking about it. ... I don't think much work's getting done."

The email hit staffers' inboxes at 4:17 p.m. Eastern time. It summoned them to a meeting 13 minutes later.

Graham spoke at the staff meeting of how he has known Bezos for more than a decade, and described him as a decent and patient man, said McCartney.
PHOTO: FILE - In this Sept. 6, 2012 file photo, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos speaks in Santa Monica, Calif. Bezos plans to buy The Washington Post for $250 million. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 6, 2012 file photo, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos speaks in Santa Monica, Calif. Bezos plans to buy The Washington Post for $250 million. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

Graham told the staff he is convinced that Bezos is committed to quality journalism and has no political agenda. There was sustained applause from the staff after Graham and Weymouth's remarks.

Allen & Co., which held a high-level conference for media and technology executives in Sun Valley, Idaho, last month, was named as an adviser to the deal.

To observers, Bezos is eminently qualified to be a newspaper owner: He's rich, he's innovative and he's willing to live with slim profits. That's proven by his running of Amazon since its foundation in 1994. Last month, Amazon.com Inc. reported a surprise loss in the April-June quarter even though revenue grew 22 percent to $15.7 billion.

"Some other buyers might see the Post as a thing to drain money out of," said Joshua Benton, director of the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. "There's little reason to think (Bezos would) fall into that category."

The Poynter Institute's media and business analyst, Rick Edmonds, compared Bezos' purchase of the Post to billionaire John Henry's $70 million purchase of The Boston Globe, which was announced Saturday.

The newspaper transactions remove well-loved, established publications from publicly traded parent companies which had to answer to shareholders who demanded good quarterly financial results.

"This means putting the Post in the hands of a wealthy individual who can take as long as he needs and spend as much money as he wishes in keeping the paper strong," Edmonds said. "That's a much better situation than a company with other faster-growing businesses trying to justify that same investment."

Alan Mutter, a media consultant and former newspaper editor, said this deal marks the first time a newspaper has been bought by a "digital native," not someone entrenched in the print medium.

"Here's a guy who's going to re-envision the newspaper from top to bottom and we'll see what we get," Mutter said.

The soon-to-be-renamed Washington Post company will retain Slate magazine, TheRoot.com and Foreign Policy magazine, as well as the Post's headquarters building in downtown Washington.

Bezos said in his letter to employees that he'd be keeping his "day job" as Amazon CEO and a life in "the other Washington" where Amazon's headquarters in Seattle are based.

But he made clear there would be changes, if unforeseen ones, coming.

"The Internet is transforming almost every element of the news business: shortening news cycles, eroding long-reliable revenue sources, and enabling new kinds of competition, some of which bear little or no news-gathering costs," Bezos wrote. "There is no map, and charting a path ahead will not be easy. We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment."


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