D.C. Delegate Hopes Bezos Can Save WaPo from the Scourge of New Media

D.C.'s delegate to Congress said she hopes that the sale of her hometown paper to Amazon.com's Jeff Bezos will save the Washington Post from the threat of new media.

“The sale of the Washington Post puts my practical and strategic self at war with my sentimental side.  I remember the Washington Post as the hometown paper that came from being the second or third newspaper in the city, behind the Daily News and the Evening Star, to one of the leading news sources in the country, outliving its city rivals.  The paper’s departure from conservative publishers, for which American newspapers are well known, and its editorial posture often fit the progressive city that the District became as the Post rose to prominence," Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said this afternoon.

She lauded the Graham family, Post publishers for four generations, for being civic leaders in the community as well.

“What keeps me from mourning the passage of the hometown paper from the nation’s capital is the sale to Jeffery Bezos.  I hope and I suspect that in buying the newspaper, which brings no revenue, Bezos is seriously interested in saving American journalism itself," Norton continued. "He surely already understands that it is newspapers that make the First Amendment part of daily life in America, particularly in their role as watchdog for the people of the government. He almost surely appreciates that the Post’s deep stories, investigative journalism and coverage of foreign affairs distinguish it from the new emerging media."

"You can’t tweet what newspapers do, and if newspapers don’t do it, it won’t be done," she added. "Bezos must know that the Post gave its reporters the time and latitude to become experts that broke stories that otherwise might never have been told."

Norton said his decision to leave current staff in place shows "some appreciation for the role the Post plays as the hometown paper for the nation’s capital."

"D.C., the most disempowered city in the country, without many of the basic rights that Americans in Bezos’ home state of Washington take for granted, needs its own local voice," she added.

“There must be a way to bring the Post and other newspapers into the digital 21st-century without tearing out its soul.  Don Graham seems to believe he has left his family’s legacy intact.  He can count on D.C. to not only be thankful, but watchful.”