Jeff Bezos made news this week with a rare visit to the newspaper he owns.
The Amazon founder attended a press conference at The Washington Post on Thursday, sparking speculation — and plenty of coverage in competing media — about why he might be there.
The New York Times reported that Bezos, who bought the Post in 2013, said it had been more than a year since he last appeared at the newsroom. Bezos was seen in a glass-walled conference room, seated next to Post editor Sally Buzbee and Fred Ryan, the paper’s editor.
“I’m so happy to be here and see all these faces,” Bezos said during the press conference.
A spokeswoman told the Times that Bezos was at the paper to meet with top executives and newsroom staff.
One such meeting seemed unplanned, as Bezos was reportedly confronted by an employee wearing a Guild union shirt who asked Bezos why the Post was laying people off without offering takeovers first. The Times reported that Bezos responded that he was at the Post to listen, not answer questions, and highlighted his commitment to the newspaper’s journalism.
Ryan, the editor, announced in December that the Post would continue to cut jobs in the new year. That news comes a week after the Post said it was phasing out its Sunday magazine and cutting 11 newsroom jobs.
Bezos bought The Washington Post in 2013 for $250 million, saying at the time that he understood “the critical role the Post plays in Washington, DC and our nation, and the Post’s values will not change.” He added: “Our duty to readers will remain at the heart of the Post and “I am very optimistic about the future”.
Over the next few years, business boomed as digital subscriptions increased and hundreds of journalists were hired. But the New York Times reported in August that success had stalled over the past year and the company was on track to lose money in 2022.