If Jeff Bezos, owner of The Washington Post, decides to create a world digital daily to be read on the Kindle, then it should be a new product. It could be called The Amazon Post.
It could be called The Daily of the Amazon (which could place it in a geographic setting while setting us back to a time when locale and newspaper titles always went together), Amazon Daily Brief (would point to immediacy and that teddy bear of security we all wish for: the feeling that we are not missing out on what's important out there). But maybe Your Digital Amazon is good to tell us the what and the who of it all.
Although The Amazon Post is the one that grabs it all –past and present —and I am sure would be a favorite with its owner, Jeff Bezos.
Indeed, according to Steve Coll, Columbia University School of Journalism Dean, as quoted by Dylan Byers in a media column for Politico, Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder and owner of The Washington Post, wants to create a worldwide digital newspaper that readers can access on their Kindles.
What could publisher Bezos have in mind? A global audience?
I think while Bezos may be thinking of taking the The Washington Post global, I believe that he should create a totally new title, with no legacies or baggage. He would be smart not to turn the Post into a world global digital newspaper. It's been done before. The New York Times is already doing that with the International New York Times. In addition, the Financial Times, The Guardian and The Wall Street Journal seek a similar global audience vigorously. Not easy to accomplish, I must add.
It is a tough and diversified audience, hungry for all types of information, but not necessarily in the same package. We are all publishers in the making: we like to curate our own materials, a little of this and a lot of that, with a sprinkle of something else for which we may have an obsession.
A daily global newspaper (should we really call it “newspaper”? I prefer “briefing”) to be read on a Kindle? Think small canvas. Think lots of engagement for the reader (fingers in motion). Think truly creative advertising (without boundaries or legacy. I salivate just thinking about the possibilities). The navigation would have to be supreme, with few categories that explain it all. News would be one, of course, but not the most important one, nor the first button we approached.
If, as I sometimes think, the world is my neighborhood ( I might be a subscriber to The Amazon Post, for sure), then the content of this newspaper would do the same. It would have to assume that I sit on the wing of an Airbus 380 (not in an easy chair at home), and that I may want to see a Picasso exhibit in New York City today, but attend the Book Fair in Frankfurt tomorrow. The culture/arts editor would be one of the first hires for this endeavor, Mr. Bezos, and he would help sell all those books you can read on your Kindle, purchased via Amazon, of course.
If culture/arts would be extremely important, I would say that names and people provoking the conversation would be the way to tell me about the latest crisis facing Obama, or Cameron or Angela. And there would be very screen/finger friendly ways of storytelling, and NONE of that traditional storytelling, as in the headline, the summary and the long text.
But, alas, while on the subject of long text. Kindle is ideal for a good yarn. After all, Kindle got its start as a carrier of electronic books. Words and more words. So ONE of the key navigation buttons of The Amazon Post would have to be a long read, for a little lean back with my Kindle type of thing. And, indeed, this could be a chapter of an upcoming book.
Maps, graphics and finger-seducing anything would be part of the daily entertainment in this global newspaper.
One fourth of it would be native/sponsored advertising that would, sometimes, be more fascinating and enticing than the rest. And, why not? The Kindle owes nothing to legacy, or does it? Bezos perhaps romances newspapers a little, or he would not have bought The Washington Post.
Oh, yes,The Washington Post might provide some stories each day, but that is it. Bezos would be smart to insist that the rest be freshly created and presented material, with new storytelling formats, and a true multiplatform approach to the presentation of information.
Bezos could and should give us the first real and efficient daily briefing to be read on a mobile platform (yes, Murdoch's The Daily came first, but that does not count. It came early, it was still too much like a printed product. Legacy, it seems, one of the reasons it went out of business in my view).
The Amazon Post, however, should be global but more local than any local newspaper we know of. Indeed, the moment I would turn on my Kindle–or iPad– it would be able to locate me. So, it is Thursday and this is Oslo, what should I know about my surroundings today?
Now we are talking, Mr. Bezos. You have the means to make this first global digital briefing truly splendid, functional, essential and attractive to those who want to sell their stuff, like airlines and computer makers. That would make you more money, not that you need it.
And just think the big door this endeavor would open to Amazon–that virtual supermarket that you already own.
You would have a chance to prove what I have suspected for years: the world is, indeed, a neighborhood.
I get excited just thinking about. I am ready to download my edition of The Amazon Post today.
Jeff Bezos and the Amazon Post
Brick by brick: After years of shrinking ambition at The Washington Post, Jeff Bezos has the paper thinking global domination