James B. Stewart:
When I asked Mr. Baron to name one thing that has driven the turnaround, his immediate answer was Mr. Bezos — and not because of his vast fortune.
“The most fundamental thing Jeff did was to change our strategy entirely,” Mr. Baron said. “We were a news organization that focused on the Washington region, so our vision was constrained. Jeff said from the start that wasn’t the right strategy. Our industry had suffered due to the internet, but the internet also brought gifts, and we should recognize that. It made distribution free, which gave us the opportunity to be a national and even international news organization, and we should recognize and take advantage of that.”
But Mr. Bezos also seems to be a hands-off owner: Although Mr. Baron said they typically have a teleconference call every two weeks, Mr. Bezos hadn’t called this week, even after the Russia scoop.
There was obviously some trepidation when Bezos bought the Post, but it's pretty clear that he not only saved it -- which no less than Hillary Clinton gave him credit for on stage yesterday at the Code Conference -- but has allowed it to thrive once again.
What if, just what if, the core problem with the newspaper businesses wasn't just the internet, but really the management of said business in the age of the internet? And what if a new, savvy owner came in fully realizing that, and moved to take advantage of the internet, rather than wish it didn't exist? One could imagine a paper that hasn't been relevant in 20+ years becoming relevant again...