Buy Now! Why The Washington Post Sale Matters

I’ve lived in the Washington, D.C., area for more than 14 years now. The Washington Post has been the center of the media universe at two major organizations I’ve worked at.

Today’s sale of The Post to Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, is a final clarion call that today’s digital world is radically different. It’s unchartered territory that requires constant change. Who knows how things will change at The Post — pundits will speculate endlessly — but a tech guy bought a major world newspaper today for one-fourth of the price Facebook paid for Instagram.

There’s value in social media on the face of the matter (raw price, which, of course is not the only measure, but an important one) and the market is dictating that newspaper organizations are worth far less than many social media companies. There’s historical and personnel value at The Post for sure, filled with ethics and style guides, but Instagram can be an unorganized mess like many social media sites.

Look at what has more financial value today.

I recently lamented over the hyper focus on media relations many senior public affairs positions still require. Today’s sale of a major news media institution to a guy who built a tech startup in his Seattle garage is a symbolic wake up call that as public affairs people, we need to be focused on more than just media relations. The world is changing every day and we need to be ready to respond to the future.

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