wapostbezosFree Kindles for every newspaper subscriber! Papers delivered by Amazon’s Kiva robots! Door desks in the newsroom!

Certainly Jeff Bezos will be more innovative than that, but the Amazon founder’s surprising deal to acquire the Washington Post leads to the inevitable question: What should he do with this old-fashioned newspaper anyway?

In his memo to Washington Post employees, Bezos professes not to have much of a plan yet. “There is no map, and charting a path ahead will not be easy. We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment.”

Brad Stone, who is set to publish a book about Amazon this fall, writes on Bloomberg Businessweek that the deal is unusual among Bezos’ investments, which include startups such as Uber and Makerbot. “Bezos believes that the Internet is changing the entire business landscape, but so far he has seemed devoted to blazing new paths, not rescuing ailing old media franchises,” he writes.

Here’s your chance to weigh in. What should Bezos do with the Washington Post?

And a bonus question, inspired by our parody above. What should the Post’s actual headline be tomorrow?

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  • Al

    Less text, more visuals. Help get the news digested by the masses!

    • http://geekwire.com Todd Bishop

      Thank you, Mr. Neuharth, speaking from newspaper heaven. :)

  • http://www.intrinsicstrategy.com/ FrankCatalano

    “Washington Post to become WA Post”

  • Egomaniac

    One word: Ego

  • theodp

    10. $20 less for newspaper with Special Offers

    9. Story Wish Lists

    8. Free home delivery with Amazon Prime

    7. 3rd party news stories available in Marketplace

    6. Story referrals earn Associates commission

    5. Gold Box filled with stories selected just for you

    4. Newspaper lending library

    3. Listmania story lists

    2. Mechanical Turk reporters

    1. Paperboys toss rolled-up Kindles on your porch

  • http://blog.findwell.com Kevin Lisota

    Perhaps Amazon could revive the print edition. Amazon Fresh deposits your morning groceries with a printed copy of the Post on top!

  • Bill Schrier

    The ODP has a good list, Todd. I really like the “free Kindles for ever subscriber” to get the subscriber base hooked into the Amazon walled garden (please note: I am NOT a shareholder but I love all those decent-paying Amazon jobs coming into Seattle).
    The key thing is to monetize the great reporting and investigative journalism of the Post. That might best be accomplished with an entirely new medium, e.g. digital paper (flexible, kindle-like, newspaper-sized, electronic newspaper) or a Windows 8 (and other device) “Flipboard” style app.
    Headline for the Wash Post for tomorrow? “Washington buys Washington” or “West buys East”.

  • Tess

    The Times and the Journal are using paywalls to limit access to their news from users who won’t pay. The Post is probably the third most prestigious national news organization, so the time seems right to try to go after those users on the web, on social, and with great mobile apps — if it works, that allows the Post to spread that cost structure over a lot more readers.

    Then all Bezos has to do is find a way that he could use all that information that a newspaper knows about its readers to find things that they want to buy and try to sell them those things. I think Bezos already knows a little about that part.

    The good part about that strategy is that it means the Post has incentives to maintain or even improve the quality of its news organization, because that’s what makes it valuable to the readers.

  • JHamer

    Jeff Bezos should take these two steps:
    1. Restore The Post’s Ombudsman position, but expand it by creating a new Washington (D.C.) News Council made up of concerned journalists and citizens who will hold The Post to the highest possible ethical standards in public. In-house critiques and online comments are not good enough. The Post needs independent outside oversight — just as they demand of every other institution. Model it after the Washington News Council (http://wanewscouncil.org) right here in Seattle, which has a solid 15-year track record.
    2. Take the “TAO of Journalism — Transparent, Accountable and Open” Pledge and display the TAO Seal, then invite readers worldwide to hold them to it — i.e., be Transparent about where they’re coming from, Accountable if they make mistakes, and Open to other points of view. That’s a pretty low bar, but it’s amazing how many mainstream media folks avoid it. To see how it works, visit http://taoofjournalism.org. Simple, voluntary, cheap — and can be remarkably effective. Will Bezos be truly courageous and innovative? Here’s his chance.

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