Veteran journalist and executive editor of The Washington Post Martin Baron is the recipient of the 2017 Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in The Media, to be presented June 19 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
Baron has been executive editor of The Washington Post since January 2013. Previously, he was editor at The Boston Globe from 2001 to 2012. While at the Globe, his investigative team’s coverage of the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic archdiocese of Boston earned the paper a Pulitzer Prize. The story behind the paper’s investigation was featured in the 2015 movie Spotlight, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.
Since Baron became executive editor of the Post in 2013, the paper has won numerous awards for its coverage, including Pulitzer Prizes for its reporting on killings by police officers, security lapses at the Secret Service, and secret surveillance programs by the National Security Agency. In 2012, Baron was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in The Media is named for the late USA TODAY, Freedom Forum and Newseum founder Al Neuharth, and is sponsored by the Freedom Forum, Newseum Institute and the University of South Dakota. Neuharth, a South Dakota native, graduated in 1950 from USD, which is now home to the Al Neuharth Media Center. Baron will be the 31st person to receive the Award for Excellence, which honors lifetime achievement in the media industry. Legendary CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite was the first honoree.
“We are honored to present Marty Baron with this award, which recognizes his career as a journalist devoted to uncovering truth and asking the tough questions,” said Gene Policinski, chief operating officer of the Newseum Institute. “The new Washington Post motto declares ‘Democracy Dies in Darkness,’ and it is journalists like Marty on whom we all depend to provide light.”
The award will be presented at an evening dinner during the weeklong Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference, an annual symposium at the Newseum that brings together 51 of the nation’s top high school students with an interest in journalism. The conference, designed to inspire and encourage students to pursue journalism as a career, began in 1999 and is funded by the Freedom Forum and Newseum Institute.
“USD is proud to join the Newseum Institute in honoring Marty Baron,” said James W. Abbott, president of USD. “His success in guiding journalistic investigations of important public issues exemplifies the qualities we teach aspiring journalists through the Department of Media and Journalism and the Al Neuharth Media Center.”