Lehigh University
Lehigh University

News

Lehigh alumnus, commencement speaker leads Washington Post to two Pulitzers

Baron celebrates in the Post newsroom upon learning that the newspaper had won two Pulitzer prizes.

Martin “Marty” Baron ‘76 ‘76G, who will speak to graduates at Lehigh’s 148th commencement this May, has just added a couple more honors to his already illustrious journalism career.

It was announced this week that the Washington Post, where Baron serves as executive editor, had won two Pulitzer Prizes in recognition for its work over the past year. The Post earned the prestigious Pulitzer public service medal for its work exposing the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs and another Pulitzer for reporter Eli Saslow’s eye-opening series about the struggles of Americans who receive food stamps.

Speaking to National Public Radio after the awards were announced, Baron called the achievement “tremendously gratifying” and said that the series about the NSA was a particularly important piece of journalism.

“We came to the conclusion fairly quickly that this is a story that we needed to do,” Baron told NPR. “It carried risks for us legally and reputationally, but this is an organization that in its history has taken on the most sensitive and difficult subjects, and we were prepared to do that again.”

He added: “News organizations need to remain ambitious. They need to do the hardest stories and the most important stories, and they need to invest the resources in order to deliver those stories successfully. And if that requires confronting powerful institutions, we’re willing to take risks in service of the public interest.”

The two Pulitzers are the latest additions to Baron’s remarkable resume. In 2001, he was named the nation’s top newspaper editor by Editor and Publisher magazine. Three years later, he won the same honor from the National Press Foundation. During his much-lauded tenure as editor of the Boston Globe, he and his staff won six Pulitzers in categories ranging from public service to national reporting to criticism.

Baron will speak to Lehigh’s Class of 2014 on May 19. In announcing Baron as the speaker for this year’s commencement, Lehigh President Alice P. Gast said he would be “an inspiration” to the university’s newest graduates.

“His work illustrates the critical role that good journalism can play in informing and engaging people on important issues,” Gast said.

Baron earned his B.A. and MBA from Lehigh and landed his first newspaper job at the Miami Herald. He moved to the Los Angeles Times, where he became business editor. In 1996, he was appointed associate managing editor of The New York Times and in 2000 he was named executive editor of the Miami Herald.

In Boston, Baron became one of the leading figures in the news industry. His journalists won widespread praise for their coverage of the Catholic Church clergy abuse scandal, and were awarded the Pulitzer public service award in 2003.

Story by Tim Hyland

Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2014

share this story: