August 16, 2013

The Aug. 11 edition of The Post featured yet another front-page article about Jeff Bezos, new owner of the newspaper [“For Bezos, Post represents a new frontier”]. That’s on top of a front-page piece in the Outlook section about Donald Graham, the outgoing owner [“Dear Don”]. There might have been more pieces in other sections. I stopped looking to write this peeved letter to the editor instead.

That torrent of copy on The Post’s pending sale comes on top of a flood of similar stories, op-ed pieces and columns by many of the paper’s non-sports columnists. Enough already! Of all of the Washington area’s ultra-self-absorbed people and institutions, The Post is setting a new low by obsessing over the paper’s sale. Believe it or not, there are many of us in the District who are loyal Post subscribers who have other interests and concerns, little things like the state of the local economy, traffic, crime, education, the local entertainment scene, even Robert Griffin III (another way-over-covered topic). And many of us have been through sales of companies, buyouts, layoffs, unemployment and sweeping change at our jobs. I didn’t see The Post bury my problems in a barrel of ink. Please turn your attention elsewhere.

Edward Epstein, Chevy Chase

After reading all the editorials and comments by staff and readers concerning the sale of The Post, what struck me most was the overwhelming respect and affection for Donald Graham. We should all aspire to be held in such high regard.

Barbara Pearson, Silver Spring

Enough with the endless articles about the Graham family — please leave the monarchies to Europe. And Watergate was more than three decades ago. When will you focus on what the sale of The Post means to your readers? Jeff Bezos is all about customization, so here’s a start of what that could mean:

1. I’d like more education news, and you can keep the sports section, except for tennis news, especially all the news about the Williams sisters.

2. If I like Harold Meyerson’s column, which I do, and would pay good money never to read Charles Krauthammer’s column, can my Post Web site be easily customized to me?

3. I wish the Washington football team much success, but I do not like racist, offensive words like “Redskins” to appear in my Web version of The Post. And I never want football news on the front page of my printed paper.

4. Bring back the ombudsman so that there’s someone in charge of listening to readers!

5. When will we get more in-depth news about “My Town” of Washington, D.C., which is so nonchalantly dismissed by a former Post reporter in his recent gossipy name-dropping book?

I could go on. Ask us readers what improvements we’d like to see.

Wendy Leibowitz, Bethesda

Jeff Bezos has already improved The Post. He has managed to cure, on a one-time basis so far, the appalling editorial practice of poorly defined antecedents.

There are cases of this every day in the newspaper. There will be a long story with 15 or more paragraphs. A person in the story will be mentioned once. A good 10 or more paragraphs later, the person’s surname will be used without any clue as to who the person is or his relation to the story. A frustrated reader will then have to hunt back through the story — sometimes to the very beginning — to find out about that person. It is sloppy journalism and shabby editing, and it does not delight the consumer.

In the Aug. 11 newspaper, I noted with surprise in the very long article about Jeff Bezos that paragraphs 114 and 115 included context clues about people mentioned earlier: “Ratajak, the software engineer” and “Bezos’s friend Hillis.” The first and only earlier references had been in paragraphs 21 and 25, respectively.

Score one for Bezos!

Denis Cotter, Middleburg

In his Aug. 10 Free for All letter, Samuel Berner pleaded with incoming Post owner Jeff Bezos to direct editors of The Post to stop their use of puns. I have been reading The Post as long as Berner has and I love pun headlines. I always look for them, and they put a smile on my face early in the morning. I would like to plead with the new owner of The Post to please encourage even more use of puns. Thank you.

Hossein Ildari, Chantilly