Ever heard that phrase “don’t bite the hand that feeds you”? Maybe the Washington Post’s Timothy Lee hasn’t.
On Thursday, Lee wrote a lengthy piece questioning the online news business savvy of Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, who recently purchased the paper that employees Lee.
[P]art of Bezos’s vision for The Post represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the online news business — and what it will take for The Post to thrive in it.
“The problem is how do we get back to that glorious bundle that the paper did so well?” Bezos asked at a question-and-answer session with Post journalists.
Bezos lauded the “daily ritual” of reading the morning newspaper over coffee. “That daily ritual is incredibly valuable, and I think on the Web so far, it’s gotten blown up.”
But that daily ritual got blown up for good reason. Trying to recreate the “bundle” experience in Web or tablet form means working against the grain of how readers, especially younger readers, consume the news today. In the long run, it’s a recipe for an aging readership and slow growth.
Lee goes on to explain, correctly, that consumers don’t seem to want their news sent to them in bulk packages that contain stories they’re not interested in (i.e. if you only care about sports news, why pay for a product that also contains articles about fashion?)
But what’s with saying it out loud? Is there no “open door” policy at the Post?