Martin Baron, retired executive editor of The Washington Post, accepted the William Allen White National Citation award during a virtual event April 21.
Baron became executive editor of The Washington Post in 2013, overseeing the newspaper’s print and digital news operations and a staff of more than 800 journalists. He retired last month. Newsrooms under his leadership have won 17 Pulitzer Prizes, including 10 at The Post. The Post during his tenure has won four times for national reporting and twice for explanatory reporting and once each for investigative reporting, criticism, feature photography and public service, the latter in recognition of revelations of secret surveillance by the National Security Agency.
Previously, Baron had been editor of the Boston Globe. During his 11½ years there, the Globe won six Pulitzer Prizes — for public service, explanatory journalism, national reporting and criticism. The Pulitzer Prize for Public Service was awarded to the Globe in 2003 for its investigation into a pattern of concealing clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Church, coverage portrayed years later in the Academy Award-winning movie “Spotlight.”
“William Allen White used his words to work for his community and the world,” said Ann M. Brill, dean of the School of Journalism. “That’s the standard the trustees use to select the National Citation recipient. Throughout his career, Martin Baron has upheld that standard. His achievements speak loudly to the impact he has had on American life.”
Before the Globe, Baron held top editing positions at the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Miami Herald. Under his leadership, the Miami Herald won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Coverage in 2001 for its reporting of the raid to recover Elián González, the Cuban boy at the center of a fierce immigration and custody dispute.
He began his journalism career at the Miami Herald in 1976, serving as a state reporter and later as a business writer. In 1979, he moved to the Los Angeles Times, where he became business editor in 1983; assistant managing editor for page-one special reports, public opinion polling and special projects in 1991; and in 1993, editor of the newspaper’s Orange County Edition. In 1996, Baron moved to the New York Times; he became associate managing editor responsible for the nighttime news operations of the newspaper in 1997. He was named executive editor at the Miami Herald at the start of 2000.
His honors include Editor of the Year by the National Press Foundation (2004), the Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media (2017), the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Award (2017), and the Award for Public Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government (2016). In 2012, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the recipient of honorary doctorates from George Washington University, George Mason University, and his alma mater, Lehigh University.