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2013 Media Person
of the Year:
Jeff Bezos


The Amazon founder and CEO
is named the year's most noteworthy figure in media.


Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon and the new owner of the Washington Post, is the 2013 Media Person of the Year, according to the 12th annual online contest held by I Want Media.

Visitors to I Want Media suggested candidates for the week-long Internet-based competition to the name the year's "most significant" figure in the media industry. Bezos was announced as Media Person of the Year on CNN's "Reliable Sources," with host Brian Stelter, on Dec. 8.

Media Person of the Year contenders in 2013 included Yahoo's Katie Couric, Twitter's Jack Dorsey, and Vogue's Anna Wintour. The recipient last year was BuzzFeed boy wonder Jonah Peretti, who followed the late Apple guru Steve Jobs in 2011.


2012: JONAH PERETTI

2011: STEVE JOBS

2010: JULIAN ASSANGE

2009: TWITTER GUYS

2008: ARIANNA HUFFINGTON

2007: WRITERS ON STRIKE

2006: STEPHEN COLBERT

2005: ANDERSON COOPER

2004: JON STEWART

2003: BONNIE FULLER

2002: MARTHA STEWART
Bezos shook up the traditional media landscape in 2013 with the announcement of his plan to buy the Washington Post, a leading newspaper for decades and a powerful force in shaping U.S. policy. The acquisition promised not just an ownership change for the 135-year-old institution, but a potential transformation of the "disrupted" newspaper industry.

Though Bezos admitted that he was "talked into" buying the Post by former owner Don Graham, the tech titan agreed that "somebody who had a lot of Internet knowledge and technology knowledge could actually be very helpful" to the newspaper business. (Maybe by planning newspaper delivery by drone?)

Bezos — who has funded ventures including the microblogging service Twitter and the business news site Business Insider — is "the best CEO today in the digital world," according to Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute. "He will be able to figure out" how to handle old media’s woes "better than anybody."

This year's contenders:


JEFF BEZOS. Amazon's founder and CEO stunned the media world with his acquisition of the Washington Post, the 135-year-old "legacy media" institution. Despite his recent remark that "print will be dead in 20 years," Bezos's buy stirred hopes that he would use Amazon's famed consumer know-how to reboot the entire ailing newspaper industry. The Internet mogul, at least, vowed to help guide his new asset to a new "golden era."




TINA BROWN. Did the magazine veteran figure out something that no one else has realized? As she parted ways with IAC's money-losing online news site the Daily Beast, Brown unveiled the launch of Tina Brown Live Media, a startup devoted to organizing conferences. Brown had no qualms about leaving publishing behind. Journalism, she said, is having a "very pathetic moment." Digital disruption "hasn't brought a business model."




KATIE COURIC. The longtime broadcast TV news star became "global anchor" of Yahoo, where she was tasked with developing news coverage with a growing team of global correspondents. "TV news is not over," insisted the former NBC "Today" show host and "CBS Evening News" anchor. However, "the [online] reach is extraordinary." Amid the huge shift going on in media, the future of the media universe could be Katie on the Internet.




JACK DORSEY. Success has many parents. So perhaps it was no surprise that Twitter's founders engaged in a heated feud ahead of the company's hit IPO. Dorsey may have overhyped his role, but he remained Twitter's most public face and champion. He once assured that Twitter wouldn't ever replace newspapers: "We will always need a medium that carries more words." Maybe one day, like Jeff Bezos, the tech billionaire will buy one.




NIKKI FINKE. After a lengthy public brawl with boss Jay Penske, the Hollywood blogger announced plans to leave Deadline Hollywood, the popular news site she founded, to start a new online venture chronicling the ins and outs of showbiz. The planned launch of NikkiFinke.com could cause a stir in Hollywood, where the name "Nikki Finke" has become a brand of its own, thanks to Finke's trademark mix of scoops, snark and vitriol.




REED HASTINGS. Netflix's CEO emerged as an increasingly important player in the media industry, given his company's rising status as a buyer of big ticket broadcast, cable and movie content. His streaming video service made binge viewing mainstream, and demonstrated by its big win at the Emmy Awards that you don't need to be a traditional TV network to make quality content. Next up: the Academy Awards.




GLENN GREENWALD. The Guardian journalist helped scoop one of the year's big stories: a top-secret court order allowing the U.S. National Security Agency to monitor millions of telephone logs. The former blogger made headlines once again when he revealed plans to leave the Guardian to create an ambitious online news venture backed by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar — a "once-in-a-career dream journalistic opportunity."




DAVID KARP. Tumblr's founder sold his easy-to-use blogging platform to Yahoo in a mammoth $1.1 billion deal. The sale heralded the biggest venture-backed exit of a company in New York City's history and left the 27-year-old CEO worth around $200 million — despite Tumblr's lack of a clear path to profitability. Under Yahoo, Karp promised, Tumblr would get "better faster." Yahoo, for its part, vowed not to "screw it up."




SHANE SMITH. Vice Media's CEO secured $70 million from Rupert Murdoch, allowing his hipster media company to expand into Europe and Asia — and dispatch NBA star Dennis Rodman on a diplomatic trip to North Korea. The "media for millennials" outfit staffed up on young reporters armed with Google Glass and smartphones. Said Smith: "We can open foreign bureaus as fast as other news organizations are closing them."




ANNA WINTOUR. Conde Nast's unpaid internships died this year, but the legendary "devil in fashion" continued to thrive. Vogue's longtime editor in chief expanded her power with her appointment as artistic director of her magazine's parent company. Wintour was said to be given free rein to not just reshape magazines but redo the publishing giant's entire editorial structure, transforming "the Conde way into the Wintour way."





Don't see your choice? Tweet your nomination: #mpy13





 

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