Photo credit: Janet Donovan
By now the ‘shock factor’ has probably morphed into the ‘worried factor’ as “Posties” – as they are affectionately known – move on from yesterday’s news that the Graham family owned Washington Post has been sold to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, bringing with it the end of an era.
Hollywood on the Potomac caught up with some insiders while they were still in their shock space.
Jonathan Capehart with NBC’s Betsy Fischer Martin
Jonathan Capehart: “I got the email about a big 4:30 announcement around 4:25 in the auditorium. There was even a call-in number. Because I was about to go on air at MSNBC, I couldn’t dial in. I read the email from Katharine Weymouth around 4:45 under the NBC marquee on 49th Street and screamed, “WHAT?!”
Food for thought from foodie Tim Carmen: “I picked the wrong week to go on vacation. Personally, if the Graham family was going to sell, I can think of few owners I’d rather have than Jeff Bezos. He knows about Internet commerce, and he knows enough to say he doesn’t know much about news-gathering. He’s also retained the current editors. These are all positive signs to me.” We’re betting Carmen keeps his job.
Except from staff that were actually out of the newsroom at the time of the announcement, a lot of our emails went unanswered. Translation: Local Bars. So, we checked in with some former “posties.”
Ron Faucheux and Chuck Conconi
Chuck Conconi, former Reliable Source columnist: “I’m stunned. This marks the end of a great family ownership. It looks like it sold at a bargain basement price. It’s a good thing Katharine Graham didn’t live to see this.” Our thoughts: 250 millions dollars ain’t a bad way to go, bargain basement or not. Even with the extended Graham family, we did the math.
Annie Groer and CNN’s Dana Bash
Annie Groer, also former Reliable Source columnist: “Like everyone else, I was stunned by the news. But now, six hours later, I want to believe that Jeff Bezos and Don Graham, a world class mensch who still hand-writes thank-you notes, will turn out to have been wildly prescient. Until today, I always told those who asked that my journalism career began at two long-dead papers: The Washington Star (1852-1981) and the Washington Daily News (1921-1972). Today I sadly add The Washington Post, since the new owner is expected to give it a new name. From 1995 to 2008, first in Style dishing gossip at the Reliable Source and then in Home, covering architecture, design, decor, antiques and 21st century manners, I had a journalistic blast.”
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein speak out on the backbone and integrity of The Washington Post, media today and the future of journalism at Discovery Channel’s look back at Watergate.