Martin (“Marty”) Baron may be best known in pop culture as a character played by actor Liv Schreiber in the 2015 Academy Award Winning film “Spotlight," which re-told the story of the Globe's 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporting on the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandals.
But many in our industry followed Baron closely years later when he moved from the Globe to The Washington Post, succeeding Marcus Brauchli in 2013 as executive editor. Shortly after the move, the Graham family announced they were selling the Post to Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.
During the following years, under Baron's leadership, The Post received 10 Pulitzers — four for national reporting, two for explanatory reporting, and single wins for investigative reporting, criticism, feature photography and public service.
Some of the major stories the Post broke included coverage of the US Secret Service's security lapses, revealing Roy Moore’s sexual misconduct, plus constant, ongoing investigation of the Trump campaign and subsequent four-year administration, exposing many miss-truths and scandals. It is no wonder that Trump was quoted in 2018 as saying, "I will not allow our great country to be sold out by anti-Trump haters in the dying newspaper industry,” singling out The Post for writing “bad stories even on my very positive achievements.”
His new book, "Collision of Power: Trump, Bezos, and The Washington Post," opens with Baron telling the tale of his dinner at the White House. Donald Trump invited Baron, two other senior executives, and Bezos, intending to get The Post to tone down their coverage of his presidency and be "more fair to him." Baron describes Trump as "fundamentally a transactional individual, and if he granted us the favor of dinner, he would expect something in return."
But this book is not written as a personal memoir like Ben Bradlees’s “A Good Life.” "Collision of Power" focuses on his experiences managing The Post's newsroom during an extraordinary time. Washington was under Trump's influence, and the news publishing industry was changing from a legacy media world to one of social media, blogging and other digital disruptions.
In this episode, we go one-on-one with industry veteran Marty Baron, where we discuss his recently released book, "Collision of Power,” which offers an inside view of his time as executive editor of The Washington Post under Bezos' ownership and during Trump's presidency. We also hear his thoughts on managing a newsroom in today's challenging news media ecosystem.
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