An intern’s response to the selling of The Washington Post

Photo from jimromenesko.com.

Photo from jimromenesko.com.

As an intern, I get to experience office life and newsrooms. I am in the thick of it — reporting on deadline, finding sources on my own and bugging them until they get back to me, suggesting enterprise stories, messing up and having to write corrections, and learning about topics as I go.

Sometimes, I also experience the business world first-hand. Like yesterday’s selling of The Washington Post and newspapers under the Post-Newsweek Media umbrella, including where I am currently interning, The Gazette.

I saw something on Twitter about The Post being sold and was just about to read the article when the entire staff received an email to meet in the conference room. At 4:40 p.m. we were given the news that The Washington Post, and The Gazette, was being sold to Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, for $250 million.

After the meeting, I listened to employees’ reactions, a mixture of shock, uneasiness and excitement for the future. Would there be more layoffs? How could they continue producing a great product, a great newspaper, with fewer people? How exactly would the papers change?

Then I went back to Twitter. Many people responded with humor.

And Jeff Bezos, Amazon Prime and Washington Post were trending for a while yesterday.

I can’t react as an employee, because I’m an intern for eight weeks. I get a taste of what working at The Gazette is like.

This was one dose of that taste.

As somewhat of an outside perspective, I think the investment is good overall. If Bezos is able to encourage technological and digital innovation in news, that is great. The Post’s and The Gazette’s journalism will remain strong. But I think jumping into the future is smart.

I hope the future has easy-to-navigate news websites. Maybe more newspaper websites will look like apps, like USA TODAY’s site. Clean design is so important. I’ve been learning that as a reader and in my coding classes. Maybe we’ll see a Tumblr or Twitter-based newspaper. Maybe there will be an increased emphasis on local stories. Maybe the internet will soon be completely different.

The Washington Post and papers under the Post-Newsweek Media umbrella will change, somehow. I’m looking forward to seeing positive change. And I’m excited for my last semester at j-school in the fall, and then beginning my professional journalism adventure, whatever it will bring.

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About Marlena Chertock

Marlena Chertock's first collection of poetry, On that one-way trip to Mars, is available from Bottlecap Press. Her articles have appeared in The Washington Post, Marketplace, and WTOP. Her poems and fiction has appeared in The Deaf Poets Society, Moonsick Magazine, and Paper Darts.

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