Jeff Bezos made news this week with a rare visit to the newspaper that he owns.
The Amazon founder attended a news meeting 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 his last appearance in the newsroom. Bezos was spotted in a glass-walled conference room seated next to Post editor Sally Buzbee and near Fred Ryan, the paper’s publisher.
“I’m delighted to be here and see all these faces,” Bezos is quoted as saying during the news meeting.
A spokeswoman told the Times that Bezos was at the newspaper to meet with top execs and staff across the newsroom.
One such meeting appeared 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 buyouts first. The Times reported that Bezos responded that he was at the Post to listen, not answer questions, and he underscored his commitment to the newspaper’s journalism.
Ryan, the publisher, announced in December that the Post would continue cutting jobs in the new year. That word came a week after the Post said it was eliminating its Sunday magazine and cutting 11 newsroom positions.
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, D.C. and our nation, and the Post’s values will not change.” He added, “Our duty to readers will continue to be the heart of the Post, and “I am very optimistic about the future.”
In the years after, business boomed as digital subscriptions jumped and hundreds of journalists were hired. But The New York Times reported in August that the run of success had stalled in the past year and the company was on track to lose money in 2022.