In his telling, which was one of the first candid interviews on the subject since he bought the paper for $250 million last year, Mr. Bezos was approached through an intermediary by Donald E. Graham, then the chairman and chief, then the chairman and chief executive of The Washington Post Company. Aside from his lack of expertise on the newspaper industry, Mr. Bezos was skeptical for other reasons.
"I went through a few gates before deciding to buy The Post. Is it hopeless? I didn't want to do it if it was," he said. "The Internet has radically disrupted traditional newspapers. The world is completely changed, and advertisers have tons of options on how to reach people in local areas."
Mr. Bezos and the staff of The Post have their work cut out for them. As the newspaper industry undergoes significant change to cope with the rise of digital publishing, The Post has gone through multiple rounds of buyouts, and recently announced cuts to employees' retirement benefits. Similar to The Post, The New York Times is currently going through a round of employee buyouts.