RSS

The Bulletin

Hot scoop: Words go cold, so Washington Post gets into furnace business

Posting in Technology

The Washington Post's hot Watergate scoop led to the film All The President's Men, with Dustin Hoffman as Carl Bernstein and Robert Redford as Bob Woodward. In a remake, Woodward coud get reassigned selling furnace coils in China, where Bernstein could work as a gas flame engineer. 

It was hot times for journalism back in the early 1970s, when Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein exposed the Watergate scandal that would bring down a president.

The scoop in the Washington Post established a zeitgeist for investigative reporting that would drive the newspaper industry for years to come.

But oh how times have changed. With words no longer a good business model and newspapers the world over closing down, the paper that broke the spying foibles of Richard Nixon has diversified into the furnace business.

Yes, the Washington Post Co. has purchased a company that makes parts for industrial furnaces. As Bloomberg Businessweek reported:

In what may be the most brazen diversification play in media, the company this week said it’s purchasing Forney, a Texas-based company that makes burners and flame detectors for industrial furnaces.

There's nothing particularly new about media companies expanding their holdings outside of core areas.  For over two decades, NBC was part of toaster-to-turbine conglomerate General Electric.

But the Washington Post acquisition underlines a burning question facing free society: Will the future of journalism go up in flames?

Image from IMPAwards.com via Wikimedia

More newspaper nuggets, media musings and words on words:

— By on July 21, 2013, 10:25 PM PST

Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure