The Washington Post, Brought to You by Amazon

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Old Washington Post headquarters (15th Street)

Current Washington Post headquarters (1301 K St NW, Washington, DC 20071)

 

Throughout my built environment project I focused on The Washington Post, both the old headquarters and the current headquarters. In the beginning of the semester I focused on the architectural and locational differences between the two locations. With the final project I decided to dig deeper and research the origins of the newspaper and how the family owned company landed into the hands of the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos.  I chose to display my research and argument in the form of an emaze presentation.

Katherine Graham

Jeff Bezos

The visual presentation is designed as a digital newspaper in order to have the audience better relate to the aesthetic appeal of one; but since it is digital, it allows me to add the multimodality of juxtaposed images and and interactive video. The newspaper design is meant to illustrate an example of a digital newspaper telling the story of how The Washington Post was sold.  Each ‘slide’ is representing an article or more of a different piece of information in comparison to the previous one. Collectively, the presentation builds upon itself from start to end. Throughout the presentation there are numerous images and in relation to one another I intended for them to display the juxtaposition of concepts. The other mode presented in this presentation, is the video of an interview on the 60 minutes show with Jeff Bezos, explaining what motivated him to purchase the newspaper.

Contextually, I was aiming to describe the differences between Katherine Graham and Jeff Bezos, highlighting their contrasting influences on The Washington Post. As I mention in the presentation Katharine Graham was one of the most prominent women in Washington D.C., this was due to her upbringing and her political network. Many have referred to her as the “woman who brought down a president” (Davis). Originally The Washington Post was gifted to Katherine and her husband Philip as a wedding gift from her father and since then Philip ran the paper. After Phillip committed suicide Katherine took over and then began her reign of. The Washington Post better established its worth after being responsible for the full coverage of the Watergate incident with President Nixon, and that was due to Katherine’s connections. After Katherine passed away, her son took over the Post. Evidently he did not have his mother’s touch and asked Jeff Bezos to take over. In an interview Bezos mentioned that he doesn’t know anything about newspapers, but he does know a thing or two about the internet. As the CEO of Amazon, one of the most successful e commerce platforms, Bezos spotted the opportunity to take new reporting to the next level within the digital era.

Argumentatively, I was aiming to point out that with the transition in power from the Graham family to Jeff Bezos and the physical relocation of the headquarters to a more high end  and modernized location, the Washington Post has evolved. Katherine Graham turned The Washington Post into and news reporting powerhouse that has been respected throughout the nation. Before Bezos purchased the Post, the company was experiencing a great decline in sales for past seven years, therefore the sale was their only hope. (Bloomberg)  Bezos as someone who knew nothing about the newspaper industry took into account what he does know and used it to his advantage. He is known to be an internet industry disrupter and in his letter to the staff of The Washington Post, he wrote: “The internet is transforming almost every element of the news business. We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment”(The New York Times). Since 2007, the print newspaper industry has dropped 55.8%. Therefore it is logical to choose Bezos to be the one to expand The Washington Post’s digital news reporting (Bloomberg).

Some may argue that the digitalization of the newspaper takes away from the authenticity of reading a printed newspaper, but in today’s digitalized world people are closely tied to their devices and prefer to inquire information in a digital form.

Current Washington Post headquarters

At this point you may wonder why does it matter that the Washington Post was sold to Jeff Bezos and relocated to K Street? It is a great opportunity for journalists, writers, User Experience Specialists, Web designers, IT Specialists, and others who may be able to catch on to Bezos plan to innovate the Washington post. This is the era of the internet being a worldwide commonplace and everyone is a part of it, but there are those who get ahead and become a part of the fast paced evolution of disturbing the industry. So become a part of it while you still can!

 

References:

60 Minutes. Why Bezos Bought The Washington Post. YouTube.

Bloomberg. Jeff Bezos Paid Asking Price for Washington Post. YouTube.

Davis, Deborah. Katherine The Great. 3rd ed., Sheridan Square Press, 1991.

The New York Times. Jeff Bezos: Background on the Amazon Founder Who Bought The Washington Post | The New York Times. YouTube.

 

The Washington Post is Making Their Big Move and Here is What the Reporters Have to Say

Heil, Emily. “John Kerry, Jeff Bezos Celebrate Official Opening of New Washington Post Headquarters.Washington Post – Blogs; Washington, 28 Jan. 2016.

Exhibit: In Emily Heil’s article, “John Kerry, Jeff Bezos Celebrate Official Opening of New Washington Post Headquarters,” she reports opening of the new Washington Post headquarters establishes a new era for the newspaper. First reflecting on the successes of the past, the article explores the new achievements to come in the newly dedicated Graham Family Conference Room. This article is key to my research as a demonstration of the transition and emergence of a new era for the paper.

Though it may seem like I am collecting way too many Washington Post articles for this research, but I am doing this in order to get different perspectives on this matter. Reports are the ones who are directly being affected by the move and it is interesting to see what they have to say about the transition in power and the idea of the newspaper as a whole. This piece in particular will be interesting to analyse because it draws attention to the new conference room that is named after the past owners, as tribute. What does that mean for the company? Being known for innovative technological advancements, does Bezos wish to keep some origins of the paper or will he completely transform the concept? As I have mentioned before, the reporters are the one having that first person experience within the company and being the ones to speak out to the public, their work is an excellent exhibition source for understanding the internal modification within the Washington Post.

 

Niedt, Bob. “The Washington Post’s New Headquarters Mixes the Future of Journalism into Its LegacyWashington Business Journal, 18 Dec. 2015.

Background: In Bob Niedt’s article, The Washington Post’s New Headquarters Mixes the Future of Journalism into its Legacy,” he comments on the relocation of the national paper and what that means for the company. This article gives me the background information on how many employees are working for the newspaper and what is the size of the work space and that kind of information. This is also an article revealing the compositional rhetoric of the interior plan and design of the headquarters. The article also exposes the evolved factors of the newly digitized newsroom. Niedt also mentions that there exists ” the newsroom of the future. But also, there are lots of ties back to the legacy and brand we’ve created over the decades.”

Being a background source, it allows me to better understand the physical difference between the old and new headquarters. This article is essential to my research because it gives my research an outside perspective on the innovations that are happening in the relocated historic newsroom. At the old headquarters, the newsroom was the prized historic possession and many are curious how it was reconstructed. With the dramatic switch in power, came the sudden adaptation to modernized technology; for example there are “monitors are filled with the data that’s the lifeblood of new media: Analytics, the stuff that reveals where the readers are located, which stories they’re engaged with, for how long, how did they landed on The Post’s website and more.”

Starbucks as a Commonplace

Even within their mission statement that reads: “to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time” (Starbucks Website), Starbucks is a commonplace. Located in 25,085 locations throughout the world, Starbucks brings together a variety of people. Personally, I come for the quality coffee which is reflected in the brand and the easthetic atmosphere, where I can relax and maybe read or get some work done. However, thinking about the type of people gathered there, I realize that it is usually the wealthier middle and upper class, the ones who can afford the luxury of the experience. Then I wonder: what does that do for the commonplace if the people who can’t afford the coffee are kept out? Is it a sort of secluded area meant to only welcome the wealthy community? If so, why is that?

Is ‘My AU’ Really Yours?

Ever had trouble logging into your AU Portal? Ever been not able to find something you desperately need? As students at the American University, the AU Portal is intended to serve as a data hot spot of all of our personal information and a platform for answers to any questions we have about how AU does things. It is an online commonplace of a sort for the administration and other entities to  communicate vital information. A few days ago I was logging into my portal in order to update my timesheet for my on campus job. As usual, I filled in my username and password. Clicked on the drop down for ‘work@au,’ then pressed on ‘payroll,’ and glanced over to the right side bar, where the ‘timesheet’ button is usually located. After about ten minutes of poking around and searching the keyword ‘timesheet’ was I able to actually locate it. Then it got me thinking: is the website intended to be so confusing? Wouldn’t you think the user experience designers know how to design a website that is more accessible and easier navigation by its users? I do not have a particular opinion on this matter but I was just considering it, because it is always so difficult to navigate and find information on the website. I mean, originally a student portal is intended to be a platform connecting all aspects of the university, which can be simply navigated.

In the Hands of the Designers

In Suzanne Tick’s, “His & Hers? Designing for a Post-Gender Society,” she argues that it is designers should take a stance in order to society’s issues and encourage acceptance and change. We live in a world that is redefines gender and explores the concept of a multi gender society. Historically, societies were strictly monochromatic, either you are male or female and no one ever talked about not fitting into either category. Though in today’s society we are forced to eliminate the ignorance and face the idea that not everyone affiliated with the traditional gender roles. In Tick’s article, she brings up an excellent point that not only are architectural movements predominantly constructed by males, but also have a rhetorical intention of establishing gender roles within the built environment. Tick points out that this is a great opportunity for emerging designers to create designs that cater to all genders. Those she continues on explaining that many companies are beginning to accommodate gender neutrality within the workplace beginning with bathrooms. As Tick points out again, bathrooms are only the start, because soon enough everything will change, including our commonplaces. Work spaces, universities, and other communities are all commonplaces which are beginning to emerge towards holistic acceptance of all varieties of people. Lastly, Tick restates her call to action as: “this is an essentially human phenomenon, and we need to design for the accumulation of different human beings who are out there by being respectful to individual needs, and creating environments in which people can have their own individuality.”

Office Hours: the commonplace for though collection

For weeks I have felt lost and confused about many assignments. It wasn’t just because most of my professors assigned projects closer to the end of the semester, it is partially because in this college writing class we have numerous assignments throughout the semester. Though I still haven not gotten used to juggling everything at once in that class, but I guess that is a skill many job will require in the future so I should get used to it. However, going to  Professor Hoskins’ office hours help me make a list of things I have to improve on and keep working at. On Thursday, April 20th, we went over the expectations of the annotated bibliographies and messed a bit with the WordPress site trying to figure out how to embed a satellite map of my built environment. We also briefly touched upon the final project and what is expected of that.

Why Should I Care About What Fleming Has to Say? ‘So what?’

In David Fleming’s novel, City of Rhetoric, in the final chapter he restates his proposition and the reasons why he is hopeful about the concept of community in American society. His purpose in writing this book is to get people to consider their relationships within their communities and commonplaces and understand their civic responsibilities of not shifting the political allegiance, but instead preserving the multilayered set of cultures within communities (Fleming 212). I believe drawing that conclusion is the most important part of the novel, because in the end he explains why he wrote it, in order to send an essencial message. A message which could have been applied back when the book was written or even even today. It is essential for Fleming to reiterate these ideas because the last chapter is usually the most memorable one and therefore it is where the author speaks directly to the audience. He ends the conversation by expressing his hopes for the future, because in his understanding that now the matter is in the hands of the public and the younger generations.  Therefore he is hopeful for three reasons: by design there is a “countervailing force,” people will always find a way to save the natural environments, and lastly he relies on the younger generation to step up and protect the gift of community (Fleming 214).

 

Fleming, David. City of rhetoric: revitalizing the public sphere in metropolitan America. Albany, NY, SUNY Press, 2009.

Bibliography 9&10

60 Minutes.Why Bezos Bought The Washington Post. YouTube. Accessed 3 May 2017.
Background:
In Jeff Bezos’ interview on the 60 Minutes show, he opened up about why he chose to purchase the Washington Post and what his plans were for the paper. The 60 Minutes show is know for getting down to the bare bones of the topic, which in this case was: what does the CEO of Amazon have to do with the D.C. based national paper.
I am using this as a background source, because I needed to get a better understanding of the story behind the business deal and why Bezos is getting into the news reporting business.     I believe it is best to use a video of Bezos, telling the public about his future plans for the paper, is the most genuine type of source because I can analyze his tone, physical mannerism and other rhetorical aspects of the interview.

The New York Times. Jeff Bezos: Background on the Amazon Founder Who Bought The Washington Post. YouTube. Accessed 3 May 2017.
Background:
In New York Times’ report on Jeff Bezos, they provided a detailed explanation of his successes and how he came about with Amazon. They also mentioned the work he has been doing on the Washington Post.
This is a background source addressing Jeff Bezos’ story and how he became as successful as he is. This is an essential source to my research because I have to know how he got to where he is now in order to understand how will he transform the Washington Post.

Googled Commonplace?

Ever tried googling ‘commoplaces’? Well when I did it came up with an advertising agency called Commonplaces. It makes perfect sense for a marketing agency to be called a commonplace because there are millions of companies around the world with different purposes and visions, yet there is one thing in common and that is they all require marketing. That is surely something I have never thought of before, but it is surely an interesting take on the concept.

 

 

 

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