Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron, In Conversation

Just hours after The Washington Post unveiled its new slogan “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” the Brown Institute at Stanford hosted the newspaper’s Executive Editor Martin “Marty’” Baron, as part of the Institute’s Winter Quarter Speaker Series.

Brown’s Stanford Director, Maneesh Agrawala, interviewed Baron before a capacity crowd at Stanford’s CEMEX Auditorium. The two held a wide-ranging discussion that touched on the state of journalism, the Post’s response to President Trump’s attacks on the press, and howThe Washington Post is surviving and thriving in the digital era.

Baron said the job of the press is to hold those in power accountable, adding that the Post would be doing that no matter who was in the White House. Given President Trump’s attacks on the press, which he described as “disturbing and disheartening,” he said it is more important than ever that journalists continue to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. When trust in the media is low, Baron said, “we must fall back on our standards… and remember our moral core.”

Baron said the Post plans to expand its staff with 60 new hires in the next year, a rarity for legacy media companies in recent years. The expansion follows improved finances in 2016, turnaround Baron attributed to the paper’s new owner, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. In addition to investing financially in the Post, Bezos changed its strategy – pushing the paper to move beyond a local market and reach national and international markets. In addition, Baron said Bezos has fostered a culture of experimentation and entrepreneurship inside the organization. Innovation, Baron said, has happened with both the technology thePost uses to tell stories, and they way the Post now tells stories. 

 “We want to stay true to our values, but find new modes of expression in the age of the Internet,” he said.

For more, read The Stanford Daily’s article on the event.