Why do billionaires decide to buy newspapers (and why should we be happy when they do)?


The wealthy have set their sights elsewhere lately: newspapers. One of the largest national papers, The Washington Post, is owned by one of those wealthy men. Instead of buying newspapers to strip them of their profits, they are bought to help them. Jeff Bezos, who bought the Post, thinks of it as an “important institution”. While for-profit corporations run most newspapers, when billionaires are in charge, they allow the paper to focus on its main mission, and take the importance of competition down a level.

When billionaires buy a newspaper, it suggests that they have confidence in its future, confidence in themselves to lead it through a digital transformation, and belief that the paper will continue to hold the government accountable. Bezos has led the Post to developing technology that other newspapers use, allowing the Post to outcompete other news outlets because it is incorporating business strategies into its functioning.

Billionaires buying newspapers is seen as an act of civic-mindedness, motivation for profit or a chance to have stake in how the newsroom operates. Most wealthy people lean towards wanting the newspaper to profit and want it to be a source for communities. The motivation to buy newspapers seem to illustrate that our societies need newspapers, and readers agree.

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