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Did they hear Jeff Bezos' footsteps?

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Everyone is talking about it, Ezra Klein has left The Washington Post. Klein was one of the few reasons remaining to read the WP. He was hip and thoughtful, and most independent. Why did this happen when he and others at the post seemed so gracious in welcoming their new boss and owner, Jeff Bezos?

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One reason is that Bezos is technically competent, like Klein and Melissa Bell, who is also departing.

“We regret to announce that Ezra Klein, Melissa Bell and Dylan Matthews are leaving The Post for a new venture.”

Bezos techies are probably much stronger technically and with experience. Klein is a branded content producer. In fact, his personal brand was getting so strong that perhaps readers had lost the context, meaning the paper it is printed on. Well, since this is a paperless world and Wonkbook arrives via email, who knows that they are reading The Washington Post? See where this is headed?

There is going to be a new branding, and Jeff Bezos will have room for only one strong brand, and not a collection of branded spinouts.

Here is Politico’s take.

“Ezra Klein out at Washington Post

1/21/14 9:49 AM EST

The Washington Post announced Tuesday that its star economics blogger Ezra Klein will be leaving the paper to start a new venture.

"When Ezra joined us in 2009, he was a wunderkind blogger with brash confidence and a burning desire to write a column in the print newspaper," Post editors wrote in a memo to staff. "As he leaves us, Ezra is still a brash wunderkind, but now his burning desire has a grander scope: He is looking to start his own news organization, an ambition that befits someone with uncommon gifts of perception and analysis. Ezra’s passion and drive will be missed, but we will take pride in watching him chart out his new venture."

Well, let me tell you, I was once a wunderkind, and that doesn’t last long going it alone. In the media business, you have to have some large and powerful backers. The media business today is challenged by so much noise in the system. The business model is ever changing, and old loyalties from advertisers are thin to nonexistent.

Content producers, those who crank out intellectual property find it very difficult making it as celebrity journalists just come and go.



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