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Martin Baron with Frank Blethen

A Marriage of Press and Politics

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Date:
Mon Oct 9, 2023
Time:
7:30 pm PDT

Venue

The Great Hall
1119 Eighth Avenue (enter on Eighth Avenue)
Seattle, 98101 United States
+ Google Map
Civics

If you’ve felt like the news cycle has been out of control in the past few years, imagine being the editor of one of the most prominent papers in the US.

Martin Baron had over a decade of newsroom experience before he took charge of The Washington Post in 2013. But just seven months into his new job, Baron received unexpected news: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos would buy (and own) the Post, marking a sudden end of control by the esteemed family that had presided over the paper for 80 years. Two years after that jarring shift, Donald Trump won the presidency. Baron found himself working for the capital’s newspaper owned by one of the world’s richest men while reporting on a president with an anti-press platform who once referred to them as the “lowest form of humanity.”

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In his debut release Collision of Power: Trump, Bezosand The Washington Post, Baron provides readers with a personal account of the immense pressure faced by both him and his colleagues. Despite unprecedented circumstances, Baron led the Post‘s staff to award-winning coverage: stories about Trump’s purported charitable giving, misconduct by the Secret Service, and former chief justice Roy Moore’s troubling history. In addition to external challenges, Baron faced internal battles as well, such as changing societal dynamics around gender and race.

Part memoir, part investigation, Collision of Power details the feat of managing the Post’s newsroom while meeting a new owner’s demands, all while simultaneously contending with a president who waged war against the media. The text examines the very nature of power in 21st-century America and how key players like media, money, technology, and politics interact and intersect.

Martin Baron is a longtime journalist and newspaper editor. He ran the newsrooms of The Miami Herald and The Boston Globe before being named executive editor of The Washington Post in 2013. His role in launching an investigation of the Catholic Church’s cover-up of sexual abuse by clergy was portrayed in the Academy Award-winning movie “Spotlight.” Baron retired from daily journalism in early 2021 and now splits his time between Western Massachusetts and New York City. Collision of Power is his first book.

Frank Blethen is the publisher of The Seattle Times and the great-grandson of the 126-year-old company’s founder.


Presented by Town Hall Seattle.

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