Reporters latch on to small details about Jeff Bezos
Jeffrey Bezos has created such a vacuum of information around his plans for The Washington Post that details of his visit to the paper Tuesday afternoon were greeted hungrily by media obsessives.
Craig Timberg and Paul Farhi's account of the Post's soon-to-be new owner's late-afternoon wheels-down in the Post newsroom is qualified by the insistence that no one knows his plans. (Bezos did give an interview to Farhi that ran Tuesday morning.)
"Bezos offered few clues about his plans for The Post as he met with editors and company executives," people who met with him told the reporters. Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt said it is too early to know how active Bezos will be in shaping the newspaper’s editorial policies," they write. During a front page meeting, he declined to comment on upcoming stories:
“Do you want to weigh in, Jeff?” asked Managing Editor Kevin Merida.
Bezos replied, “No, I don’t, except that I’m impressed with the process.”
Here's what we do know.
• BEZOS HAS ACCESS TO A WHITE SHIRT. Also, tan trousers, Timberg and Farhi write. He didn't wear a tie. Does he in fact own the shirt? Unconfirmed, but there is evidence he wore it.
Meta: WaPo photog following around Jeff Bezos (white shirt) on newsroom tour pic.twitter.com/SGvor9Hi4V
— David Nakamura (@DavidNakamura) September 3, 2013
• HE CAN RING A BELL. Bezos summoned editors to the afternoon meeting Tuesday by striking the Post's traditional bell. "Bezos’s gesture prompted a ripple of applause," Timberg and Farhi write. There is some dispute over whether the bell is a triangle or a cowbell. Also, this is unconfirmed, but I heard from one Post source that Bezos laughed into the intercom after completing this transaction. Timberg and Farhi offer some possible confirmation: Bezos "maintained a genial, inquisitive manner punctuated by occasional outbursts of laughter," they write.
Jeff Bezos just rang the cowbell for our afternoon news meeting. Think he is impressed by our technology.
— Mary Beth Sheridan (@marybsheridan) September 3, 2013
Jeff Bezos--henceforth to be known as "El Jeffe"--just rang the bell summoning #wapo editors to their story conference. Applause ensued.
— Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) September 3, 2013
• HE'S GOT MEETINGS SCHEDULED. Bezos will have breakfast with Bob Woodward, have lunch with some editors, and meet with 20 Post journalists -- including David Finkel, Sari Horwitz and Dana Priest -- before a plenary session with the newsroom Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. He will also tour the paper's Springfield, Va., printing facility.