On Monday, amid a particularly idyllic evening in Washington, Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez opened the doors of their stately Kalorama manor to host the International Women’s Media Foundation’s annual Courage in Journalism awards, one of the many genteel D.C. ceremonies intended to honor the more noble aspects of this profession. The couple greeted some 150 guests over cocktails and passed canapes and gave opening remarks—Sanchez dubbed the honorees “badass beacons of hope”—before settling in for an evening of plaudits and panegyrics. Naturally, the evening featured many reporters from Bezos’s own paper, including four Ukraine-based journalists, who received awards for their fearless work from the front lines, plus Jason Rezaian, one of the evening’s moderators.
The Washington Post was quite well represented that evening, in fact: Patty Stonesifer—the extremely well-liked interim publisher and C.E.O., and the architect of the post-Fred Ryan fiscal restabilization effort—was in attendance with her leadership team. There were also a few Post reporters honored by the IWMF in years past. They joined a group of D.C. media denizens—Andrea Mitchell, Norah O’Donnell, etcetera—and society types who were surely honored to walk the halls of the old Textile Museum, and adhered to the signs requesting that no photographs be taken.
The invitations to Post leadership were no small olive branch. Per sources familiar, Bezos also invited Stonesifer and her direct reports to stay after the event for another round of drinks and a more intimate conversation with their owner—a rare privilege given that Bezos’s is often engrossed with his multinational e-commerce and cloud computing empire, climate change initiatives, space avocation, and the pastimes befitting a guy worth about $150 billion, and thus rarely visits with the Post leadership team more than two or three times a year. And Bezos followed up with a day-long visit to Post headquarters on Wednesday, during which he met with business and editorial leaders, as well.