Jeff Bezos weighs in on the chaos gripping his newspaper

Jeff Bezos weighs in on the chaos gripping his newspaper
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Jeff Bezos said an internal memo that he was committed to maintaining The Washington Post’s journalistic standards.

  • Jeff Bezos told Washington Post staffers Tuesday that their journalistic standards will not change.
  • The memo came as the Post’s publisher and incoming editor face criticism over past reporting.
  • Bezos said he was committed to maintaining the Post’s “quality, ethics, and standards.”

Jeff Bezos, the owner of The Washington Post, tried to assure top newsroom employees on Tuesday that the journalistic standards at the newspaper will not change as controversies mount over its new publisher and incoming editor.

“The journalistic standards and ethics at the Post will not change,” Bezos wrote in the email, which was obtained by Business Insider and reported earlier by CNN. He copied Will Lewis, publisher and CEO of the Post, on the email.

“To be sure, it can’t be business as usual at The Post. The world is evolving rapidly and we do need to change as a business,” Bezos said, adding, “With your support, we’ll do that and lead this great institution into the future. But, as the newsroom leaders who’ve been shaping and guiding our coverage, you also know our standards at The Post have always been very high. That can’t change — and it won’t.”

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He continued, “You have my full commitment on maintaining the quality, ethics, and standards we all believe in.”

The billionaire owner’s email comes as Lewis faces criticism related to the phone-hacking scandal that rocked the UK starting in 2011 when it was revealed that reporters at a British tabloid had hacked the phone records of celebrities and private citizens and that some had paid sources for information. Lewis was brought into News Corp. to deal with the fallout.

The New York Times on Saturday reported that Lewis himself had assigned stories based on “fraudulently obtained” phone and company records in the early 2000s when he was a business editor at The Sunday Times.

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The Post published a story on Sunday that said a self-described “thief” who stole records for stories was connected to Lewis and Robert Winnett, the Post’s incoming editor.

Bezos did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent by BI. The Post did not provide comment when reached by BI. Previously, The Post told The Times, “William is very clear about the lines that should not be crossed, and his track record attests to that.”

Winnett was tapped to take over the Post newsroom this fall after Executive Editor Sally Buzbee abruptly stepped down this month, with former Wall Street Journal Editor in Chief Matt Murray stepping into the role until after the election.

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The Times, citing unnamed sources, reported earlier this month that Buzbee and Lewis had clashed over whether to cover a legal development in a lawsuit related to the phone-hacking scandal.

Beyond controversies involving its leadership, the Post has also been struggling financially.

Bezos bought the Post for around $250 million in 2013, but the Times reported the newspaper had $100 million in losses in 2023. The Post also cut 240 jobs at the end of last year.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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