Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has likely answered thousands of questions from journalists. What he probably has never done is faced a roomful of reporters who will soon depend on him for their paychecks.
Bezos will appear at the headquarters of The Washington Post next Tuesday as the billionaire prepares to take control of the iconic newspaper. According to a source at the paper, an email was issued to staff today informing them that Bezos will take questions from employees during his two-hour visit. The entrepreneur announced earlier this month that he personally — not Amazon — had acquired the paper for $250 million. The move generated much speculation about why Bezos acquired a newspaper amid a decade-long decline in the print industry. Some say he wants Amazon to have more political influence, while others see the acquisition as an extension of Amazon's media strategy. The Poynter Institute was first to report the news about Bezos' visit.
"It's going to be packed."
Bezos will undoubtedly be asked to answer many of these questions during his Q&A with staff. About the meeting, one Post employee told The Verge, "It's going to be packed." Some on staff are anxious about how Bezos will change the paper. He has suggested that since owning a newspaper is uncharted territory for him, he's interested in "experimentation." This kind of talk doesn't settle many nerves within the Post, but several employees say they are hopeful that a man with Bezos' record for business success can help the paper pull itself out of a long malaise.
The Washington Post Company has reported declining revenue in each of the past seven years. One thing is certain: Bezos is moving quickly to size up the Post. Multiple sources say Martin Baron, the Post's executive editor, gave three of Bezos' representatives a tour of the newsroom last week.