Marty Baron, Executive Editor for The Washington Post, Shines Spotlight on Journalism

 By Patricia Ressell-Deras and Cindy (Binh) Nguyen
Opinion Editor and Layout & Design Editor

WASHINGTON, D.C. –The Equinox was one of 600+ student-run newspapers from across the country attending the 2019 Fall National College Media convention, Oct. 31-Nov.3.

Two Equinox staff members took a 7 a.m. train down to Union Station in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, and made it in time to hear morning keynote speaker Marty Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post.

Before joining the Washing Post, Baron served as executive editor of The Boston Globe, leading the investigation that uncovered the Boston Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal. The paper earned a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for its coverage, which was turned into the multi-Academy Award-winning 2015 film “Spotlight.”

Baron spoke on an array of subjects, including his journey as editor at multiple news outlets, the investigation of the Boston Globe’s sexual abuse story, the effects that his work has had on investigative journalism as a whole and much more.

As Baron answered questions by college journalists, he gave in-depth insights on the job of a journalist and useful advice for interns in the field.

“Validation doesn’t take place overnight,” he said.

Baron shared advice that he learned over the decades to 1,600 current and future journalists. Among the highlights:

  1. Don’t shut down differentiating opinions. “You [must] recognize that you are going to hear opinions that you might not agree with. That some of them you are gonna find offensive, and if you disagree with them, you [can] make clear you disagree with them, but you are not gonna shut them down,” he said. “People should recognize that that’s part of society. The First Amendment is freedom for everyone to speak their minds. It’s freedom for us to watch our movies, listen to our music and have conversations without fear of imprisonment. However there are ways to tell the other side that people disagree with them, without shutting them up. You can show them that there are [a] greater number of people that think otherwise, and there is a good reason to think otherwise.”
  2. Journalism is not a 9-to-5 job. “Recognize that when somebody asks you to do something, that the best answer is ‘Yes’ and ‘OK, I’ll get right on it.’ Not ‘it’s 5 p.m., I got to go,’” Baron said.
  3. Newsrooms wants to see a lot of different positive things from its journalists. “We wanna see enthusiasm. We wanna see energy. We wanna see creativity. We want to see curiosity about the world. We want to see keen interest in how to communicate facts. We want to see rigor in the methodology that people are using,” he said.

“College should be preparation for the rest of your life,” Baron said.

The Equinox live streamed the event, which can be viewed on Equinox’s Instagram.  Or watch it on YouTube.

After the keynote, the members of The Equinox attended a wide range of panels, which included management, editing, advertising and climate change sessions spearheaded by journalism experts.

In the panel “What Collegiate Journalists Should Know About Covering Climate Change,” The Equinox was introduced to new certified resources and data sites to help advance our climate research and coverage.

The second day of the 2019 Fall National College Media Convention ended after 4:20 p.m., and more coverage of The Equinox’s participation in the student-newspaper conference will appear here and on Instagram.

NOTE: This story has been updated with new edits. 




Executive Editor Marty Baron answers audience questions.

Photo by Cindy (Binh) Nguyen