Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Marty Baron on Truth

Sarah Blankenship

In class yesterday we started watching the film Spotlight. This award-winning film covered The Boston Globe's coverage of Roman Catholic priests in Boston which had sexually abused children.

Marty Baron played a huge role in this investigative piece; today he walked into our very own Schoonover Center.

He is now the executive director of The Washington Post and was just awarded the Carr Van Anda Award for his outstanding work as a journalist.

Matt Zapotosky, an Ohio University alumni and current justice reporter for The Washington Post, introduced Baron and shared some kind words about him.

Before he received his award from Dr. Stewart, Baron gave a talk about his career and the importance of telling the truth.

Baron has made his rounds with top executive positions at newspapers across the country like The New York Times, The Miami Herold and The Los Angeles Times. Now working for The Washington Post, he told us about their mission.

"Tell the truth and tell it unflinchingly," he said.

Baron explained that when we see a story we have no choice but to investigate and report it. That is our duty as journalists, to our readerships.

He is a self-proclaimed "news junkie" that doesn't believe that "the truth shall not be known." His work has helped so many. In this article you can read one man's response to the film.

Besides Baron's story of taking on the Catholic priests in Boston, he had much to say about the First Amendment.

"The First Amendment is at the very heart of what makes our country great," he explained.

He spoke of Norman Rockwell's painting called Freedom of Speech, calling it a "defining image" of our right to share our opinions and what we know with the world.

Baron went on about how the internet can be a wonderful thing because it allows us to use our freedom of expression. He also noted that it can lead to falsehoods as well.

"Many people believe what is plainly untrue," he said when speaking of political campaigns and news of mass shootings on the internet and in the media.

Baron urged us as journalists to "be respectful of the truth." It is our duty. He said he public needs us to be truthful.

His words correspond with so much that we talk about in class. We are learning the values and morals of journalists that we look up to and hopefully we can follow in their footsteps.

In the question and answer section after Baron's speech, a member of the crowd asked how to stand up to a boss when they ask you to do something you don't agree with. This is another thing we would discuss in our class on ethics.

Baron shared, "Stand up for what you believe in. Don't do it on impulse... You're not just entitled to do that, but you are obligated."

Ethics is not just a class we take in college; it is something we will be encountering for the rest of our careers and lives.

Thank you Marty Baron for visiting us at Ohio University!

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