The University of Kansas School of Journalism presented the annual William Allen White Foundation National Citation Award to Martin “Marty” Baron, the retired executive editor at the Washington Post, in a virtual ceremony and discussion Wednesday afternoon.
Prior to the ceremony, Baron offered praise to William Allen White, whom the Citation Award is named after.
“[William Allen White] was one of America’s most distinguished journalists,” Baron said. “He’s somebody who stood up for speaking the truth at a time when journalists were coming under great pressure.”
In his acceptance speech, and in an interview prior to the ceremony with the Kansan, Baron talked about his career and the journalism industry.
The news media’s ultimate goal is the truth, Baron said. He also addressed recent attacks on the press, criticizing former President Trump, and urged journalists to continue reporting the truth.
“In time, the truth comes out, so I’m willing to be patient,” Baron said. “In the meantime, [journalists] take a beating. We must withstand it.”
In Baron’s career, he served as the executive editor of The Washington Post and editor of the Boston Globe, while also working at various news outlets, including the New York Times, Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times, according to his bio at The Washington Post.
He has overseen many stories, including 17 that have won the Pulitzer Prize, one of the most prestigious journalism awards awarded to journalists and news organizations. He highlighted the Miami Herald’s coverage of the 2000 presidential election in Florida and the Boston Globe’s investigation into the Catholic Church as stories he was particularly proud of.
“The story that I would say I’m most proud of is the Catholic Church investigation,” Baron said. “It had such an enduring impact because it gave a voice to people who had no voice, people who’s complaints were suppressed and hidden.”
Baron talked about the changes in journalism that have occurred during his tenure, including a decline in trust of traditional media outlets.
“The change [in the journalism industry] came about with the development of the internet,” Baron said. “Prior to the internet, traditional, mainstream news organizations were how you got your information. The invention of social media allowed anyone to be a provider of what they called information.”
Baron retired from The Washington Post in late February after a 45 year career in journalism, beginning at the Miami Herald in 1976.