By Vice Chairman Cosmo Macero Jr.
With a Trump Administration that creates its own reality, and a White House communications strategy of undermining public confidence in the Fourth Estate, it’s a sad state of affairs that Americans, perhaps more than ever, need powerful reminders of the importance of a free press.
And so Washington Post editor Marty Baron delivered just that on Tuesday night at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. The former Boston Globe editor – flanked by many of his former colleagues from the Pulitzer prize-winning Globe Spotlight Team – was in town to receive the Ellen Zane Award for Visionary Leadership at the Tufts Medical Center Working Wonders Gala.
“The President has said (the White House) is at war with the press. Well I’m here to tell you we are not at war,” Baron told close to 900 attendees at the annual event, which this year highlighted the groundbreaking work of Tufts MC’s CardioVascular Center. “We are at work.”
The fundamental mission of the press remains unchanged, Baron said, even as technology and digital media platforms have had a dramatic and challenging impact on the news business. The job of the Post and other media holding the Trump White House accountable is straightforward: “Find truth. Verify. And publish,” Baron said.
Baron, who in addition to steering the Post newsroom through an unprecedented period in presidential and political history, is also charged with maintaining high quality journalism while the business evolves rapidly and sometimes unpredictably in a digital media age. He credited Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who owns the Washington Post, with respecting the generations-old culture of the news organization while still encouraging innovation. He said the Post has a “commitment to experimentation” and noted that its digital presence is now rivaling that of the New York Times.
“The internet is a fundamentally different medium. News organizations that want to succeed must tell stories in new ways,” Baron said. “We are becoming technology organizations. But “no matter how our business changes, our values stay the same.”