Washington Post Editor Offers Sage Advice to Student Journalists

Marty Baron advises Suffolk Journal editors to ‘stay curious’

Ford Hall Forum creates opportunity to meet renowned journalist
Suffolk student reporters got some advice from one of America’s top journalists when they had the opportunity to interview him this week.

Martin “Marty” Baron “told us to stay curious, to ask questions, and to be a really good listener,” said Suffolk Journal’s Arts and Culture Editor Morgan Hume, who, with Editor in Chief Haley Clegg, interviewed the Washington Post editor.

Baron was on campus to receive the Ford Hall Forum at Suffolk University First Amendment Award and to speak with NPR’s Meghna Chakrabarti about the news media in front of a full house.

For the student journalists, interviewing Baron was a prized assignment.

“This is something I’ve always dreamed about, and all of a sudden it was happening,” said Clegg. “It was the greatest opportunity of my Suffolk career and something that I will never forget.”

“The best part was getting to sit down with a journalist with that much experience and hear from him personally,” said Hume, Class of 2020, who is studying print and web journalism. “I learned a lot. It was incredibly inspiring and motivated me to work harder.”

Clegg and Hume quizzed Baron about his career, print journalism, and the overall news-gathering business.

Under Baron’s leadership, the Washington Post has won seven Pulitzer Prizes. He was formerly editor of the Boston Globe, which earned six Pulitzers during his tenure, including the Public Service Award for the newspaper’s investigation into clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Church.

“He is someone I’ve aspired to be like for as long as I’ve wanted to become a journalist,” said Clegg, Class of 2020, a broadcast journalism major.

Baron was portrayed in the movie Spotlight, which chronicled the Globe’s clergy sex abuse investigation, and Clegg asked how well the film represented the story and his character.

Baron responded that the movie “gave great insight into how journalism is actually practiced,” according to Clegg.

Baron told her the film was a good reminder to publishers, owners, and editors of the importance of investigative journalism and also showed the public how important this form of in-depth reporting is, said Clegg.

She also asked Baron what’s it’s like to be editor of the Washington Post in an age when many people don’t trust the news they are receiving.

“We live in a very polarized society today, and people tend to consume information from sources that they believe will confirm their pre-existing point of view,” Baron told the two students. “If a news report doesn’t confirm their preexisting point of view, then it must be false, and that’s a scary thing, because in order to have a democracy we have to agree on a set of facts.”