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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Maryland chapter.


The executive editor of The Washington Post, Marty Baron, urged students to be activists for the truth, not activists for a cause.

Following a screening of the movie “Spotlight” at the University of Maryland, Baron engaged in a student-led question and answer session about the movie and his experience as an editor.


Before working at The Washington Post, Baron worked for The Boston Globe. There, he worked on the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative piece which detailed the concealing of clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Church.

When asked if it is important for newspapers today to have a team of investigative reporters, Baron said, “I think it’s important for there to be investigative reporters in different environments…also for every reporter to think of himself or herself as an investigative reporter.”

Baron commented on how after viewing the movie Spotlight, some other papers decided to assemble an investigative team.

Baron was asked if journalists should have a role in combating disinformation and fake news, Baron replied stating how he doesn’t like the term fake news. He stated that fake news, “is a term that’s been seized upon by the president solely for the purpose to discredit mainstream news organizations that are posting anything but fake news…so that he himself is the only form of fake news.”

Baron highlighted how the media has a responsibility do their research accurately and fairly if the media does such, Baron stated, then the stories will hold up over time.

Marty Baron/Quartz

Sophomore journalism student, David Akerman, said, “It was an amazing experience being able to see Marty Baron talk about his journalistic experiences. I’ve always looked up to him because he worked at the Miami Herald, a newspaper that I grew up reading every single day.”

Additionally, Baron thinks the media should disclose more information to the public. When using an anonymous source, Baron says the media should outline exactly why the source is remaining anonymous and highlight that the source is not anonymous to those writing the story. He also thinks more information about the backgrounds of journalists should be disclosed, including their professional background, educational background and how to reach the journalist.

When asked if the demand for journalism with a clear slant has increased as our country has become increasingly polarized and if this then decreases the demand for publications like The Washington Post, Baron said “there is certainly a growing demand of journalism that leans in one direction…we see that with the emergence of Fox News… and the emergence of Young Turks.” Baron also highlighted how many people look toward news that affirms their own pre-existing views. However, he does not think that this makes people have a decreased demand for news like The Washington Post provides.

Jacqueline Zegler, a sophomore journalism student, said, “It was a privilege to hear such a seasoned reporter pass on some wisdom to the next generation.”

The event, titled “‘Spotlight’ on Investigative Journalism: A Conversation with Marty Baron,” was the inaugural event of The Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

Bethie Loewenthal is a junior at the University of Maryland majoring in Journalism. Loewenthal is interested in social justice and gender equality.
Ambriah Underwood is an avid reader and writer. In 2016, she graduated from Baltimore City College high school becoming an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme recipient. She attends the University of Maryland as a senior, pursuing a degree in journalism with a minor in Spanish. During the spring of 2018, she copyedited news, opinion and diversion sections for an on-campus, student-run publication known as The Diamondback. After spending a year writing for Her Campus Maryland, and, later, functioning as an editor as well, she became co-Campus Correspondent. She plans to further her involvement with the group as well as gain more editorial experience through internships and by continuing her passion for storytelling. Ambriah Underwood resides in Washington County, Maryland.