After a bittersweet reaction to the sale of the Washington Post to Amazon's Jeff Bezos, celebrity investigative reporter Bob Woodward is now spending a lot more time at the Posts's office. That, according to a Huffington Post report, is in large part due to Bezos's courtship efforts. "I think he’s really serious," Woodward told the Huffington Post of Bezos, adding, "I think those of us who have been around, like myself, and have clearly benefited from our association with the Post, we want to redouble, triple our efforts."
Until recently, Woodward's contemporary involvement at the paper has been peripheral at best — he's officially an associate editor there. Woodward takes a symbolic salary of $25 a month while he continues to write book after book, racking up just a handful of bylines in the paper itself over the past few years, as the Huffington Post explains. Soon after the sale was finalized, however, Bezos and Woodward had a meal together. The journalist presented Bezos with a "14-point" plan on the future of the Post, which the two discussed. Apparently, the discussion went well. Woodward's symbolic salary will continue, but Woodward will be around a bit more:
Since Amazon chief Jeff Bezos completed his purchase of the paper earlier this month, Woodward has met with reporters and editors and has temporarily set up shop near the Post’s investigative team on the fifth floor, according to staffers. On Thursday, Woodward co-wrote a front-page drone story based on “top-secret CIA documents and Pakistani diplomatic memos.”
That front-page story detailed secret agreements between U.S. and Pakistani intelligence services on the American drone program. The collaboration was previously reported by McClatchy, and more recently by the National Journal. The Huffington Post story implies that we'll be seeing more of Woodward's byline in the future. But Woodward's public presence has, of late, been mixed up with a bit of controversy, sometimes overshadowing the kind of astonishing 17 books he's written. The reporting icon, for instance, misrepresented the tone of some White House emails he got earlier this year in response to a debate on the sequester, in order to make a point about toughness. And his more noteworthy recent media statements have been along the lines answering questions about whether various government scandals are potential Watergates or not.
But even part-time Pundit Bob Woodward is still Bob Woodward, and his presence in the newsroom could make sense for Bezos's overall approach to running the Post. Bezos would like to usher in a "golden age" at the paper, and he's said that his plan to do that will rely on the work of staffers, and not his own interventions: “If we figure out a new golden era at The Post . . . that will be due to the ingenuity and inventiveness and experimentation of the team at The Post,” he said, adding. “I’ll be there with advice from a distance. If we solve that problem, I won’t deserve credit for it.”
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.