Magazine | September 2, 2013, Issue

Changes in the Washington Post

TO: All Staff

FROM: Jeff Bezos

RE: Changes in the Washington Post

Hello!

Want to turn on One-Click™? CLICK HERE

If you’re reading this, then you must have logged in to the new Washington Post Employee Portal, for which I thank you!

As you all know, a couple of weeks ago I bought the Washington Post, for about what it cost the Disney movie studio to make this summer’s gigantic bomb The Lone Ranger. Hey, let’s hope this one turns out better!

[Recommended For You: The Lone Ranger Television Series, Complete DVD Set $39.95, The Lone Ranger Television Series, available on Amazon Prime, The Lone Ranger: A Meditation on Race and Power and the Myth of the American West by Assorted Contributors, University of California Press $29.95, The Cowboy in the Closet: Gay Relationships in American Folklore, from Huck and Tom to the Lone Ranger and Tonto, Ten Speed Press $19.95.]

People joked at the time that what I meant to do was buy a single copy of the Washington Post but I hit one-click without reading the item carefully, and I guess that’s one way to look at it. But the truth is, I was surfing around after dinner, had maybe had a few glasses of wine, and boom! This thing popped up. We’ve all been there, right? One glass of wine too many and shopping on Amazon can be a pretty surprising experience!

[People who bought the Washington Post also bought Citizen Kane Letterbox Millennium Edition with Commentary DVD $22.95, Soft-Tip Q-Tips Family Size $8.50, All the President’s Men Audible Audiobook $12.45.]

But now that I own it, you’re probably asking yourself what I’m going to do with it. Is this going to be one of those situations where a new guy from a totally different industry who lives on the other side of the continent attempts to impose his weird and offbeat “non-journalistic” business practices on something as venerable as the Washington Post?

Basically, yes.

[Enjoying this memo? Share your reactions! Post a review.]

From: dmilbank@wapo.com

*

So far, I have to give this memo one star. It’s unfocused and rambling, and it’s continually interrupted by pitches for other things to buy. I’m worried that the “new” WaPo under Bezos is going to look like this memo.

Was this review helpful?

From: dgraham@wapo.com

****

Wonderful! A tour de force! Exactly the kind of memo you want to read when you’re tired of losing millions of dollars every year!

Was this review helpful?

I’m not trying to scare anybody, but let’s face it: At $250 million, I overpaid for this by about $249,999,990.00, which is okay because that’s essentially sofa change to a guy like me. But that doesn’t mean I want to keep losing money. I’d like to actually make some on this deal, if you don’t mind.

#page#So here’s what I’d like you all to do. From now on, when you’re thinking about a story or trying to get the right “take” on an issue, I’d like you to ask yourself, “Hey, are there any upselling opportunities here?”

For instance, in a story about, say, the budget impasse currently affecting Washington, you might want to remind readers that Suze Orman’s Guide to Home Budgeting $12.95 paperback, $7.50 Kindle Edition via WhisperSync™ is available now by CLICKING HERE.

Or, say, in a foreign-policy item about Vladimir Putin, it’s a simple and totally non-obtrusive trick to weave into your story about Putin’s use of oil and gas concessions [people who are interested in oil and gas are also interested in Black & Decker Gasoline Generator 110 volts $179.50, Dr. Zhivago Centennial DVD with Commentary $29.95, Gas-X Extra Strength Anti-Gas Medication in Chewable Tablet $14.95] to essentially blackmail European leaders into acquiescing to his anti-democratic rule [people interested in Europe are also interested in Fodor’s European Guidebook Kindle Edition $12.75, The Economist Magazine Subscription in Magazines, Periodicals $99.00, Men’s European-Style Bathing Suits in Men’s Fashions $9.50-$42.95] and as you can see, it’s really not all that difficult. In fact, the Amazon computer does it for you! Our sensitive algorithms scan your text for associated upsell content, and then insert [people who are interested in “insert” are also interested in Cath-EZE Catheter with Relaxo-Tube in Health and Fitness $38.99, Lion of the Senate: The Biography of Senator Edward Kennedy $29.95, Infant Rectal Thermometer with USB port in Baby & Infant Care $24.31] those pitches and links into the body of the story. Simple as that!

So, essentially, there’s no reason to be apprehensive about the exciting changes taking place. This is how the great and venerable Washington Post will deliver its unique brand of news and insights, while at the same time turning a profit!

It’s win-win.

And for those of you who have a hard time accepting this new way of doing business, I invite you to CLICKHERE: Craigslist>WashingtonDC>Job Listings.

Rob Long — Rob Long, Hollywood writer and producer, started his career as a screenwriter for the TV show Cheers. He is a regular writer for National Review, Newsweek International, and the Los ...

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