Washington Post Workers: Report to Your Pods

By Jack Limpert

Amazon, with annual revenues of $100 billion, is known for doing things very efficiently. Two years ago Amazon’s owner, Jeff Bezos, paid $250 million for the Washington Post, and he now is moving the newspaper from its headquarters on DC’s 15th Street to a K Street office building. On Sunday, the Post published a long piece, “Inside the wild ride that landed The Post on K St.,” in its Business section.

The story points out that Bezos could have bought the Post headquarters building but declined, presumably to move the paper into more efficient space. The word presumably is necessary because Post owner Bezos declined to comment to Post writer Jonathan O’Connell about the move of the newspaper.

Before the sale to Bezos, Don Graham and the Post actually had been looking into moving into more efficient space; it was anticipating leasing about 350,000 square feet. With Bezos now owning the paper, its employees will move into 242,000 square feet of space.

Sunday’s Post story points out that 20 years ago “a newsroom might dedicate 60 percent of its space to an open bullpen and 40 percent to private offices.” Now, the story says, the split for the Post will be 90-10, which means far fewer Posties will have an office door to close.

Bezos is using Gensler, a design firm, to lay out the new Washington Post offices. One complication in the K Street building are the structural pillars that would not exist, the story says, in a newer building. The story says:

“Gensler addressed this by creating 20-foot-by-20-foot pods of workers who, though sitting at bench-like desks, will be at 90-degree angles to adjoining pods so there aren’t titanically long rows of benches.”

Is that as good a description of journalism in the year 2015 as you’re likely to read?

Speak Your Mind