GeekWire Radio: Jeff Bezos, the Washington Post and the future of media

This week on the GeekWire radio show, we analyze one of the biggest news stories of the week, which is a giant story for anyone who cares about the future of news — the purchase of the Washington Post by Jeff Bezos for $250 million.

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Mark Briggs

Our guest in the studio is Mark Briggs, the director of digital media at KING 5 and someone who has spent years thinking about the future of media, as the author of books including Journalism 2.0 and Entrepreneurial Journalism. He compares the newspaper industry’s digital transition to the five stages of grief, and says the Post’s sale to Bezos represents the final stage, acceptance.

The newspaper’s longtime owners, the Graham family, seem to be saying, “We don’t have the answers, and we need to turn to somebody else who can figure this out. And who better to do that than someone who has really overcome all odds to build Amazon.com into the behemoth that it is.”

My colleague John Cook says one key question is “which Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post?”

“Is it the Jeff Bezos who’s the frugal, low-margin businessman who runs Amazon, or is it the weird, eccentric guy who is building a 10,000-year clock in a mountain in Texas — the guy who pulled the Apollo 11 rockets off the sea floor?” John says. “Because you’ve got the guy who has some projects he’s doing — vanity investments — and then you’ve got the hard-charging businessman who is out to conquer the world. My guess is that this is a vanity investment.”

In other news, we get a sneak preview Mark’s side project, called Fork, a food discovery and inspiration app.

We also talk about a television project that GeekWire has been working on with KING 5, Studio 216 and Jenni Hogan called “Taste of the Future.” Stay tuned for a sneak peek of the pilot episode next week on GeekWire.

In this extended podcast version of the show, we also share the backstory from our interview last week with Adrian Hanaeur, the general manager of Seattle Sounder FC, and the team’s surprise acquisition of soccer star Clint Dempsey.

And in case you missed it, here’s the hilarious story of the guy who was outraged, just outraged, over his Amazon.com package being stolen from his front step.

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Listen to the show above or directly via this MP3 file.

GeekWire airs on KIRO Radio (97.3 FM) in Seattle at 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. every Saturday, except when preempted by live sports. The show runs every weekend on GeekWire.com. Get every episode using this RSS feed, or subscribe in iTunes. Also find us on Stitcher.