Wednesday, 7 August 2013

                     Open letter to Jeff Bezos

Dear Jeff, 
Welcome to The Post. I have perused that the $250 million you paid for this daily paper is about 1 percent of your total assets, making it about as hazardous and important a buy for you as an utilized 2003 Honda Civic could be for me. Still, I trust and determinedly suspect you won't see it as a toy, or, to grow the recently precarious allegory, a vehicle for advertising your greater ventures. I am assuming that regardless of the chump-change numbers, this is a major ordeal for you, and that you want to move up your sleeves and be the gentleman who discovers an approach to make accepted reporting succeed monetarily. I'd jump at the chance to offer some consultation. 
In 1982, when I was a proofreader at Tropic, the Miami Herald's Sunday magazine, the distributer requested that us run a story on our spread about the victors of The Silver Knight honor, which was given out each year at an occasion to the most guaranteeing secondary school seniors in the Miami range. The Silver Knights were a fine and honorable undertaking, however the occasion was run and financed by Knight-Ridder, the corporate holders of The Miami Herald; Herald stories about the Silver Knight honors were inescapably uncritical, in an exposed fashion celebratory, and splashed in self-advancement. We at Tropic declined to run the story of the grants in light of the fact that we were a modest magazine attempting to build a feisty, hostile personality, and being a corporate suckup flunky lickspittle didn't fit in with our arrangements. The distributer glared, mumbled something about rebellion, and directed the story to an alternate, less unmistakable segment of the paper. We went unpunished. 
Wikipedia lets me know that one of the Silver Knight champs that year was small Jeffrey Bezos of Miami Palmetto High School. Haha. 
You and I quickly crossed ways as more youthful men, and I dissed you. I conjecture its clear who won that race. 
Here's the thing: We were right to decay that story, Jeff, be that as it may, increasingly to the focus, our distributer was insightful to LET us decrease. In the following 10 years, liberated to vigorously explore different avenues regarding an outsize disposition, Tropic might improve a devotee following in Miami, and our scholars and picture takers might win two Pulitzers and be finalists for two more. That happened in light of the fact that the individuals above us believed us, if grudgingly, and --more essential --had our backs. 
I was letting this know story of endured impudence to Howard Simons, the shining daily paper manager at the Washington Post, in the blink of an eye before he burned out of tumor in 1990. He grinned and said that it encapsulated his generally imperative guideline as a daily paper chief: "Kick up, kiss down." Aggravate your supervisors, however make the individuals underneath you adore and regard you. Katharine Graham and Don Graham were splendid at this --they should have given their directorate fits, since throughout the incredible years they picked combative news-casting over pennypinching each time --and we adored them for it. It's a fundamental focal point, faithfulness drawn from fondness and regard. 
My father once let me know that he felt misery stricken at the sudden passing of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1945, however not expect that the nation was currently in the hands of some cloud haberdasher named Truman. My father knew one and only thing about Truman, truly --that in falling flat health, and amidst a planet war, F.d.r. had picked him, along these lines Truman must be an exceptional man. That was sufficient for my father. 
I suppose I represent more than myself when I say that the primary explanation for why I have high trusts for your stewardship is that Don Graham said it was the correct thing for the paper. He said you are the right fellow. That was sufficient for me. 
"Extraordinary" is an abused term, and sports has rendered it very nearly trivial, so I won't say you have barely purchased an "incredible" daily paper. I'm not even beyond any doubt you've purchased a "daily paper" in any comprehended sense. You have purchased a spot loaded with immensely skilled and devoted columnists who are, at the minute, panicked at the prospect of progress we don't truly grasp. We've recently lost some fine individuals to that dread. 
You are clearly an exceptional agent, and you are said to be a visionary. I trust you have an acceptable vision of where to take this astounding venture. As you go there, please recollect to kick up, and kiss down. 
What's more sad about the Silver Knight. But we were right.


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