Peter Richmond

On the loss of romance with the sale of the WashPost.

August 5th, 2013
by Peter Richmond

So, a few days after the owner of the Red Sox buys the paper that covers his team at less than four percent of its value when the future-blind Times bought it two decades ago, the Graham family sees the writing on the wall, sells in a nano-sec, and the WashPost now belongs to Bezos, whose allegedly oppressive Amazon warehouses are said to be very, very different from the workplace of…
…the 1980 Post, when as a copy editor in sports, you could see Bradlee leaning on the desk of a young Style-section editor one day, and Simons doing the same the next week at the desk of the same woman, and you asked around to find out that this Melissa Davis had started as the girl who sharpened Katherine G’s assistant’s pencils, and was now rising fast, and so you summoned the guts to introduce yourself to her. Today, hearing the news on the radio together as you take a late-day drive through the countryside, in your 32nd year of marriage, you find yourself ineffably sad about the Post’s transition — but glad about the partnership.

I have no sympathy for the imperious old media owners – Knight-Ridder on down – who, like the railroads, laughingly refused to see the future. And died.

Bezos will fold the print, find a way to make the paywall profitable, and keep the info flowing.

The old barons? They deserve their ex-kingly plunge into obsolescence. But here’s what we’ve lost: The romance – symbolic and real – of that deadline newsroom.