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Our common values

In journalism on December 8, 2016 at 11:18 am
Martin Baron at The Boston Globe.

Martin Baron at The Boston Globe.

By now, many of you have probably seen the brilliant speech delivered by Washington Post Editor Marty Baron upon being presented with the Hitchens Prize last week. If not, you should really take the time to read it. Our business is about 20 percent inspiration. Take it where you can find it.

Baron argues for a way forward in an environment in which the president-elect openly vilifies our profession by calling us “disgusting,” “scum,” “lowlifes” and “the enemies.” The answer? Barron says it lies in the pursuit of truth.

Baron famously pushed The Boston Globe investigative staff to force the Catholic church to release records implicating high-level officials in a decades-long child abuse scandal. The church was and probably still is the most powerful institution in New England. It took great intestinal fortitude to chase the truth in the story that was outlined in the movie “Spotlight.” We all need a little more of that now.

The stakes are much higher than the future of our individual news organizations. Baron quoted CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour to make the point:

“This is how it goes with authoritarians like Sisi, Erdoğan, Putin, the Ayatollahs, Duterte, et al,” she said upon begin honored by the Committee to Protect Journalists. “First the media is accused of inciting, then sympathizing, then associating—until they suddenly find themselves accused of being full-fledged terrorists and subversives. Then they end up in handcuffs, in cages, in kangaroo courts, in prison—and then who knows?” …

Be strong. Fight the good fight. Together we’ll make history.

Clay

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